How Long Can the Average Person Hold His Breath?

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The average person can hold his breath for 30 to 40 seconds. People usually breathe about 12 times per minute, or once every five seconds. Babies are better at holding their breath than adults.

In 2012, Stig Severinsen of Denmark set the Guinness World Record for breath holding at 22 minutes while submerged underwater, a feat that was reportedly bested by German freediver Tom Sietas later that same year with a time of 22 minutes, 22 seconds. Humans can hold their breath longer underwater due to the diving reflex, which causes the body to slow its heart rate and metabolism when submerged in cold water.