Cessation of breathing.

From the Greek pnein meaning "to breathe".

Apnea can be a medical condition, such as sleep apnea.

Apnea can also be intentional. Breathe in, and don't breathe out again for several seconds or minutes. Developing this basic ability is particularly useful for spending time underwater.

Obligatory Warning: Breath-hold diving is dangerous! It should never be attempted without a reliable, trained partner. Practice in air, know your limits, and don't push yourself to them. Apnea in conjunction with deep diving is especially dangerous due to pressure changes, which can lead to shallow water blackout.

Apnea is practiced competitively, with two broad divisions, dynamic apnea (apnea while moving, that is, swimming) and static apnea (apnea while staying still). Static apnea performance is measured in terms of time, while dynamic apnea performance is measured in terms of distance traveled. Like most sports, there are separate divisions for males and females; males have an advantage due to their higher average lung volume. Official records are those recognized by AIDA, the International Association for the Development of Apnea.

The world records as of early June 2003 are:
6 minutes 16 seconds - static, female
8 minutes 6 seconds - static, male
150 meters - dynamic with fins, female
183 meters - dinamic with fins, male
95 meters - dynamic without fins, female
134 meters - dynamic without fins, male

One of the requirements for being a performing mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs water park is the ability to hold your breath for 3 minutes (dynamic).

An effective way to rapidly develop apnea ability is by practicing timed inhalations and exhalations on a daily basis. Exercises have been adapted from the pranayama practices of Hatha Yoga for these purposes.

An apnea routine:
Breathe calmly and deeply. I find the best way to track actual seconds is by listening to a ticking clock. If no clock is handy, heartbeats or simply counting will suffice. As in any endeavor, it is helpful to keep records of your progress (maximum breath-hold time after the routine).

Inhale:Hold:Exhale (in seconds)

20 x 05:00:10
12 x 02:00:01
20 x 05:00:10
20 x 05:05:10
20 x 12:24:24
05 x 05:00:10
05 x 05:20:10

Ap*ne"a (#), n. [NL., fr. Gr. priv. + , , breath, to breathe, blow.] Med.

Partial privation or suspension of breath; suffocation.


© Webster 1913.

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