In the quest for improved longevity and healthspan, a simple yet powerful tool has emerged from the realm of respiratory health: the B.O.L.T. score. Short for Body Oxygen Level Test, the B.O.L.T. score, popularized by Patrick McKeown in his groundbreaking book “The Oxygen Advantage,” provides valuable insights into the efficiency of your breathing and its impact on overall health.

Understanding B.O.L.T. Scoring

The B.O.L.T. score measures your body’s ability to tolerate carbon dioxide (CO2) and reflects your respiratory efficiency. A higher B.O.L.T. score indicates better CO2 tolerance, which translates to more efficient oxygen utilization in the body. This is crucial because optimal oxygen utilization is linked to improved cellular function, reduced inflammation, and enhanced physical performance—all key factors in promoting longevity and a robust healthspan.

How to Measure Your B.O.L.T. Score

Measuring your B.O.L.T. score is simple and can be done in a few minutes:

  1. Sit Comfortably: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Breath Normally: Take a few minutes to breathe normally, allowing your body to settle into a relaxed state.
  3. Inhale and Exhale: Take a small, calm breath in through your nose and then gently exhale.
  4. Hold Your Breath: After exhaling, pinch your nose with your fingers to prevent air from entering. Start timing how long you can comfortably hold your breath until you feel the first definite urge to breathe (a strong desire to swallow or a contraction of the breathing muscles).
  5. Record the Time: The number of seconds you can hold your breath comfortably is your B.O.L.T. score.

Interpreting Your B.O.L.T. Score

  • < 10 seconds: Indicative of dysfunctional breathing patterns and a high stress level. Immediate action is recommended to improve breathing habits.
  • 10-20 seconds: Suggests suboptimal breathing efficiency and potential for improvement.
  • 20-30 seconds: Reflects good breathing efficiency but with room for optimization.
  • 30+ seconds: Indicates excellent respiratory efficiency and optimal oxygen utilization.

Daily Practice for Enhanced Longevity

Incorporating daily B.O.L.T. scoring into your routine can significantly enhance your longevity and healthspan. Here’s how:

1. Daily Assessment

  • Start your day by measuring your B.O.L.T. score. This will help you track your progress over time and identify patterns in your breathing efficiency.

2. Breath Work Exercises

  • Nasal Breathing: Practice nasal breathing throughout the day to improve CO2 tolerance and enhance oxygen uptake.
  • Breath Holds: Incorporate short breath-holding exercises to gradually increase your B.O.L.T. score. For instance, hold your breath for 5-10 seconds after exhalation and repeat this several times a day.

3. Stress Management

  • Stress can negatively impact your breathing patterns. Engage in relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or gentle physical activity to maintain calm and reduce stress.

4. Physical Activity

  • Regular physical activity can improve your B.O.L.T. score by enhancing respiratory efficiency. Activities like walking, jogging, or swimming can be particularly beneficial when combined with mindful breathing practices.

5. Monitor and Adjust

  • Regularly monitor your B.O.L.T. score and adjust your breathing exercises accordingly. Aim for gradual improvement rather than rapid changes to ensure sustainable progress.

Benefits of Optimizing Your B.O.L.T. Score

Improving your B.O.L.T. score can have profound effects on your overall health and longevity:

  • Enhanced Oxygen Utilization: Better CO2 tolerance allows your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently, reducing the risk of hypoxia and improving cellular health.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Efficient breathing helps reduce chronic inflammation, a key factor in aging and various diseases.
  • Improved Mental Clarity: Optimal oxygen levels support brain function, enhancing focus, memory, and cognitive abilities.
  • Enhanced Physical Performance: Improved respiratory efficiency boosts physical stamina and endurance, supporting an active lifestyle.
  • Stress Reduction: Effective breathing techniques lower stress levels, promoting a sense of calm and well-being.


Incorporating B.O.L.T. scoring into your daily routine is a simple yet effective strategy to enhance your longevity and healthspan. By regularly assessing and improving your respiratory efficiency, you can unlock the full potential of your body’s oxygen utilization, paving the way for a healthier, more vibrant life. Embrace the power of the breath and take control of your health today with the insights and techniques provided by Patrick McKeown’s Oxygen Advantage.


  1. McKeown, Patrick. The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter. HarperOne, 2015.

    • In this book, Patrick McKeown elaborates on the B.O.L.T. score and provides various breathing techniques to improve respiratory efficiency and overall health.
  2. McKeown, Patrick. “Measuring Your BOLT Score.” Oxygen Advantage. Accessed June 5, 2024.

  3. Javorka, M., et al. “Heart rate variability and blood pressure responses to moderate hypercapnia and hypoxia in humans.” European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 87, no. 6, 2002, pp. 507-515.

    • This study explores the relationship between CO2 tolerance, respiratory efficiency, and cardiovascular health, providing scientific support for the benefits of improving B.O.L.T. scores.
  4. Courtney, Rosalba. “Breathing pattern disorders and breathing retraining: a review of the literature.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 13, no. 3, 2009, pp. 277-294.

    • A comprehensive review of the impact of dysfunctional breathing patterns on health and the effectiveness of various breathing retraining techniques.
  5. Ritz, Thomas, and Alicia Trueba. “Airway responsiveness, respiratory disease, and asthma.” Comprehensive Physiology, vol. 4, no. 2, 2014, pp. 595-622.

    • This paper discusses the physiological mechanisms underlying respiratory efficiency and the benefits of improving CO2 tolerance through techniques like those described by Patrick McKeown.



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