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Max breathhold vs old age

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Tommy Engfors

New Member
Jul 29, 2003
I just read this article about apnea records being smashed in Hawaii.

One of the record breakers was a 52 year old woman. She held her breath for more than 6 minutes. The other was 64 year old man, who held on for almost 7 minutes.

These are not exactly young people. I would expect the ability to hold ones breath to go down ,as all other things do when you get old(er). I mean, you don't see 50+ year olds winning marathons or long jumps. Yet these guys break new records and impressive ones too.

So... pardon my question if it's dumb, but how come their lungs aren't deteriorating in performance?
i don't see any particular reason why their lungs should function any less efficiently at that age. i think people in their 50s and 60s can maintain a very good standard of fitness, equal to or comparable with much younger people, although it probably requires more effort. the standard of fitness would inevitably tend to decline as people reach their 70s and beyond of course...
correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe the metabolism generally slows down with age... so that should give a performance boost in static apnea!
Old age is an advantage in static apnea. Metabolic rate slows down with age -- Andy LeSauce was around 50 yrs old when he did all his world records in static.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Sorry about the last post -- the PC was still logged on as Laminar's ID!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Slower metabolism, yes, never thought about that. Good point. And yes, they are probably fit people who work on maintaining that level on a regular basis. Still very impressive though. But do you guys think overal static apnea performance would go down (a lot) if one does not pratice it regularly? I mean what happens to a guy who can hold his breath for 6 minutes and then he like stops freediving for a few years. What would happen to the max static ability then?
i set my static PB in March 2002 and then totally lost interest and didn't bother practicing static for the following 12 months. i then did some static training for a couple of weeks in March 2003 and reached 94% of my pb on my 2nd/3rd proper attempt. so i don't think static performance necessarily goes down when you don't practice it. from my own personal experience i think static is mainly about developing the right warm-up and preparation and having the confidence / belief in your own ability. i think 'training' only becomes important when you're right at the edge of what is currently achievable around 8mins+ etc.
That 64-year young guy is db’s Bill “The Old Guy”. One of the nicest members on the forum. A real inspiration!

It’s well documented that our lungs lose their efficiency in gas exchange as we age. In track events, such as 800 to 10,000 meters there is a large decline when athletes hit their later 30’s. This decreased ability is also apparent with the need for so many elderly to be on oxygen. But the slower metabolism is an interesting offset to this for static performance.

Confidence, belief in one’s self, like Alun said, plus general contentment, not feeling pressured to perform, are other advantages older athletes could have. Heck, if you’re already way past your prime, according to what society thinks, then everything you do is a success. Good position to be in when you need to relax to perform.

Go Bill go!

I'm 53 and took a break from diving from 40 to 45 to build a business, had been comfortable shooting fish in 50-60 ft. When I started again, 30 ft felt deep. I was horrified and was afraid I was just getting old. Well, I got back to pretty much the same performance after a couple of summers and since finding Deeper Blue and applying the knowledge, I'm diving much deeper and staying down longer than ever before. If I live long enough maybe I'll approach Bills performance.

Its not age, its practice and technique.
Just a short general reply to your posts;

This is all very inspiring to read.

Age is a really big issue with me. I am 28. More than a third of my expected (if I get lucky) lifespan already gone. We all know time rushes past us at a blistering pace. Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow is already here. Every year seems to be slightly shorter than the previous. The last 8 years are just a blurr (all work and sleep...) and I am beginning to feel the age in my bones (go ahead and laugh). Anyway, the fact that freediving does not seem to be that age dependant is a real morale booster. Thanks!
If the lungs get less efficient with age, this would be an advantage for static apnea, just as smokers can still do apneas of 7'30"+.

The less efficient lungs 'ration' the O2. In the meantime, the body relies on anaerobic metabolism, conserving O2 where it would be otherwise used.

This is why I've had success at doing long statics under the effect of poisons which decrease my O2 extraction capacity!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Originally posted by efattah


This is why I've had success at doing long statics under the effect of poisons which decrease my O2 extraction capacity!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

Ehm.. nice excuse for mixing drinking with diving! I knew you would slip up sooner or later! :D

Seriously though... poisons? Dare I ask?
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