The answer to the question "How long can an average freediver hold their breath?" depends on many factors. Among them are: the type of freediving, the depth at which static apnea occurs, and the effects of narcosis. However, these factors are not well controlled by current research. As with all factors in freediving, the answers to these questions will vary greatly.
For elite freedivers, maintaining a prolonged breath-hold is of prime importance. This task requires the diver to hold his breath at a rate that is fifty percent lower than the average heart rate. The effect of bradycardia on the heart rate is dependent on water temperature. Colder water has higher effects, allowing the diver to hold his breath for longer. But to reach this goal, one must learn specific techniques.
One technique to achieve this is passive breathing. Passive breathing prevents a freediver from straining his intercostal muscles. Passive breathing also prevents the diver from hyperventilating. The process of breathing during a freediving session involves the proper preparation, such as relaxing muscles and controlling your heart rate. The body needs adequate oxygen, but if you're too relaxed, your breathing will be too shallow.
There have been no studies that have thoroughly examined the effects of holding breath in freediving, and no reputable sources have endorsed the results of these tests. In fact, they have been conflicting, and other variables may have affected the results. Freediving is a niche sport, relatively unknown to the general public, and has not received as much research as some other sports. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether holding your breath causes brain damage or not.
Various types of freediving require different levels of endurance, and the duration of breathing will vary accordingly. Those who specialize in the sport can swim for up to two minutes without taking a breath. The average freediver can practice this skill for ten minutes before attempting it in competition. Freedivers must have good aerobic fitness in order to maintain their endurance while under water. The less physical strain they put on themselves, the more oxygen they save for their brain.
The most common way for a freediver to achieve static apnea is to breathe under water for up to ten minutes. While this is a huge achievement, it may not be attainable by an average freediver. However, experienced freedivers can do it for longer, and the record for the longest static apnea is 11 minutes and 54 seconds.
To achieve static apnea, a freediver must learn to relax during the process of breath-holding. If a freediver panics during an apnea, he or she will end up burning more oxygen, shortening the duration of the breath-hold. This relaxation can be developed through experience, meditation, and good equipment. The practice of dry static apnea is not an ideal training method, as it does not allow a freediver to adapt their bodies to the pressure of deep freediving.
One of the main effects of pressure is narcosis, or nitrogen poisoning. During a deep sea dive, nitrogen narcosis can affect the brain and central nervous system, causing various neurological symptoms and cognitive impairments. While there are no clear-cut explanations for how nitrogen poisoning affects freedivers, it is a common experience for many. In order to avoid the symptoms of narcosis, freedivers should practice relaxation and rest before diving, and abstain from alcohol before diving.
However, these benefits can be counterbalanced by other factors. In the first place, the average freediver's breath hold can be shortened by anxiety. This can be prevented by using relaxation tapes or other methods to relax. Second, freedivers' brains have different capacities to remain in the water without oxygen. A trained freediver can hold their breath for 4 - 5 minutes, while an untrained individual can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes.
The effects of bradycardia on the average freediver's breath can be studied in the water without the diver. An apnea 'dry walk' can be performed to measure the effect of bradycardia on breath holding. In addition to these measurements, advanced students can test their dive reflex by sitting in a chair and slowly breathing in and out while holding still. Although the responses vary among individuals, the heart rate drops for everyone.
The diving response involves bradycardia, reduced cardiac output, and increased peripheral vasoconstriction. Although these changes are associated with reduced oxygen consumption, they can cause cardiac arrhythmias and syncope during BH. In one study, 16 freedivers were examined during breath holds. A Holter was used for one of the participants. The effects of bradycardia on freediving are discussed.