Why and How Do We Breathe?

Author: Smridhi Gupta

 

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Inhale and Exhale are two common words used in yoga and aerobic classes and also used to cool down anger.

But, what do they really mean?

The information known by all is that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. But why oxygen?

Well, the answer lies deep within you, cells .

 

The fundamental unit of our body cells are the reason behind the intake of oxygen. Cells perform a process called aerobic respiration in which food is broken down with the help of oxygen to form carbon di oxide and water with the release of energy.

 

This is very important process as it liberates energy. Thus, the cells create a need for oxygen, but does why does oxygen enter our body?

 

Now, to know this we need to recall some basic concepts.

First, that as area increases volume increases and second as area increases pressure decreases. From these both, we can both conclude that as volume increases pressure decreases.

 

Now, there is a muscular separation between thoracic and abdominal cavity in your body and this called Diaphragm. Diaphragm is just below the lungs. When the diaphragm shortens the lower surface of the are pulled, this increases their volume and so, the air pressure decreases.

 

To bring the air pressure in lungs back to normal, more air is inhaled . When the diaphragm relaxes, the opposite happens and we exhale ! A simple sentence of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon di oxide has even more complex mechanism behind!