Q:

How and why does exercise affect your breathing?

A:

Quick Answer

Inspiratory muscles are important when breathing during exercise and throughout daily life, according to Power Breathe. Inspiratory muscles weaken with age, which is why breathing can be somewhat of a chore later in life. According to the Free Dictionary, inspiratory training is the act of improving the muscles involved with inhalation.

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Full Answer

According to AZ Central, the muscles rely on oxygen to function effectively. Little oxygen is required upon sitting, but more air is needed upon physical exertion. During physical activity, muscles send carbon dioxide into the bloodstream as oxygen is used. Carbon dioxide then expands arteries and pumps more blood to the organs. Carbon dioxide in the blood is a healthy function that allows more blood and oxygen to reach vital organs.

When the body has reached its CO2 limit, the medulla portion of the brain lets the heart and lungs know that the muscles need more oxygen to sustain the body. Since muscles require heavy oxygen, it explains why people often feel out of breath when exercising, but this depends on fitness levels and respiratory health.

AZ Central lists some important breathing techniques like mouth breathing and nose breathing. Mouth breathing is one way to exercise, but experts note that this method decreases CO2 levels in the blood and lowers the amount of oxygen reaching the brain. Nose breathing is considered the preferred method, since a person receives a greater amount of CO2 in the blood, while taking in more oxygen in the long run. It also strengthens the respiratory system's ability to accept higher levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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