Importance of breathing
Breathing every human being does it unconsciously, but how does it work?
Most people tend to equate breathing with other life processes, but actually the process of breathing is a much longer, more complicated system, of which breathing is only one of its many steps.
There are also two different types of breathing: cellular and physiological, the latter of which refers to the breathing process and the respiratory system.
Like all life processes, it requires many studies and a great complexity. Breathing is an essential and important process in all living organisms.
It helps in the exchange of gases and provides oxygen that is very important for the survival of most forms of life on earth.
Breathing is something we all know, since it is a visible and regular process, which we experience with each breath.
Exhalation and inhalation are the two stages associated with breathing. Our body needs oxygen for survival that is available in atmospheric air. During inhalation we breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide during exhalation.
What is Breathing?
There are two types of breathing: cellular and physiological.
- Cellular respiration
It is the process of converting molecules into energy through oxidation. This is the opposite of photosynthesis, the biochemical process used by plants and some types of bacteria to convert light energy into chemical energy.
In terms of cellular respiration, there are two types: aerobic and anaerobic. In short, the aerobic breathing process requires oxygen, while the anaerobic respiration process does not require oxygen.
- Physiological respiration
The process involves the absorption of oxygen into the air in the cells of an organism, with the release of carbon dioxide back into the environment. It is a cycle between organisms that breathe oxygen and organisms that breathe carbon dioxide.
There are two types of physiological breathing in animals: internal respiration and external respiration.
Internal respiration is the process of cells in the body exchanging gases, while external respiration is the process of breathing that actually takes place inside the respiratory organs such as the lungs.
This is the actual exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between an organism and its environment, which involves the process of breathing directly.
It is important to work and learn proper breathing techniques to maintain a strong cardiovascular and respiratory system.
Breathing Process: Physiological.
For humans and other vertebrates that breathe oxygen, the breathing process takes place inside the lungs, driven by a mechanical series called inhalation and exhalation.
These are the biological mechanisms that make up the breath. We breathe to absorb oxygen and exhale to expel carbon dioxide. However, there is more involvement in the breathing process than the lungs. The whole process uses the nasal cavity, the mouth, the larynx, the trachea and the bronchi of the lungs as well.
To breathe and breathe, we use our intercostal muscles, the muscle group that lies between our ribs.
When we inhale through the nose or mouth, these intercostal muscles contract, our sternum moves up and out along with our ribs, and our diaphragm flattens out.
The diaphragm is a lamina of muscle that is found through the bottom of the rib cage, and is vital for proper breathing.
When the diaphragm contracts, this allows the volume in our thoracic cavity to expand, thus reducing the pressure and allowing us to draw air into our lungs. With the help of our diaphragm and the thoracic cavity, our body creates a literal suction.
In the same way, when we exhale, our intercostal muscles and our diaphragm relax. This causes the volume of the thoracic cavity to decrease and the pressure inside to increase, which expels the air in what is called exhalation.
What really happens inside the body between inhalation and exhalation?
Internal breathing occurs after and during the process of external respiration, and it is when the gases in the air that we have attracted to our lungs can be mixed, the oxygen absorbed in our blood and the carbon dioxide eliminated.
This happens because our heart is pumping blood low in oxygen through the pulmonary arteries and into the lungs.
At the ends of the pulmonary arteries there are small blood vessels called capillaries, which wrap around the alveoli like a network.
The alveoli are where our bronchial tubes transport the air we inhale. They are the rounded, grouped and sack-shaped ends of the respiratory tree where gas exchange occurs.
Inside the alveoli, the oxygen-rich air we have inhaled is pumped to the red blood cells located in the surrounding capillaries, enriching the blood with much-needed oxygen.
In return, the red blood cells expel the carbon dioxide that they transport to the alveoli.
Carbon dioxide is a waste product created through the metabolism process, and too much of it in our blood can cause damage to our body.
It can raise the levels of acidity in your blood, which is harmful to your heart, and even cause suffocation!
When you hold the breath by inhalation and then do not exhale immediately, the reason you start to feel dizzy is not due to the sudden lack of oxygen consumption, but the excess of carbon dioxide accumulated in your body.
Of course, both are so important, so be sure to practice proper breathing techniques.
Once air from the alveoli is enriched with carbon dioxide from the newly extracted red blood cells of oxygen, this air travels through the bronchial tubes and exits through the nose or mouth, in a process called exhalation.
At the same time, the pulmonary veins carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart to be distributed throughout the body.