The Respiratory System

Your respiratory system is the network of organs and tissues that help you breathe.

It includes your airways, lungs, and blood vessels. The muscles that power your lungs are also part of the respiratory system. These parts work together to move oxygen throughout the body and clean out waste gases like carbon dioxide.

What does the respiratory system do?

The respiratory system has many functions, besides helping you inhale and exhale it also:

  • Allows you to talk and smell.
  • Warms air to match your body temperature and moisturizes it to the humidity level your body needs.
  • Delivers oxygen to the cells in your body.
  • Removes waste gases, including carbon dioxide, from the body when you exhale.
  • Protects your airways from harmful substances and irritants.


What are the parts of the respiratory system?

The respiratory system has many different parts that work together to help you breathe.

The respiratory system, labeled

  • Your airways deliver air to your lungs. Your airways include your:
  • Mouth and nose.
  • Sinuses: Hollow areas between the bones in your head that help regulate the temperature and humidity of the air you inhale.
  • Pharynx (throat): Tube that delivers air from your mouth and nose to the trachea (windpipe).
  • Trachea: Passage connecting your throat and lungs.
  • Bronchial tubes: Tubes at the bottom of your windpipe that connect into each lung.
  • Lungs: Two organs that remove oxygen from the air and pass it into your blood.

Let’s take a closer look at the lungs

The Lungs

The lungs are located on either side of the breastbone in the chest cavity.  From your lungs, your bloodstream delivers oxygen to all your organs. When you breathe out, your blood carries carbon dioxide and other waste out of the body.

Human lungs anatomy, medically illustration
Air enters the body through the mouth or nose and quickly moves to the pharynx, or throat. From there, it passes through the larynx, or voice box, and enters the trachea.

Within the lungs, the trachea branches into a left and right bronchus. These further divide into smaller and smaller branches called bronchioles, that lead to the alveoli which is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place with the help of the capillaries, who are the blood vessels in the alveoli walls that move oxygen from the lungs to the blood stream and at the same time carbon dioxide passes from the blood to the lungs, this is known as GAS EXCHANGE

Gas exchange is when oxygen (O2) moves from the lungs to the bloodstream. At the same time carbon dioxide (CO2) passes from the blood to the lungs. This happens in the lungs between the alveoli and a network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which are in the walls of the alveoli. Gas exchange allows the body to replenish the oxygen and eliminate the carbon dioxide. Doing both is necessary for survival.


The proper terminology to get the breath in and out of the body is Inspiration and Expiration. Inhale/ Exhale

In general, two muscle groups are used during normal inspiration are  the diaphragm and the external intercostal muscles. …

Contraction of the external intercostal muscles moves the ribs upward and outward, causing the rib cage to expand, which increases the volume of the thoracic activity, and the expiration is when the diaphragm muscles relaxes and rises, the intercostal muscles relax and this creates a positive pressure that pushes some of the air out of the lungs.

Obviously when you exercise you need more breath, and the intercostal muscles work harder on inspiration and they contract during expiration to remove more air in the lungs.

Three processes are essential for the transfer of oxygen from the outside air to the blood flowing through the lungs:

  • Ventilation is the process by which air moves in and out of the lungs.
  • Diffusion is the spontaneous movement of gases, without the use of any energy or effort by the body, between the alveoli and the capillaries in the lungs.
  • Perfusion is the process by which the cardiovascular system pumps blood throughout the lungs.

Super Quick Summary

Oxygen in and Carbon Dioxide out

Oxygen from the lungs is carried by the red blood cells to the heart where it’s then pumped to the body and Carbon dioxide from the cells is carried by the red blood cells back to the heart and into the lungs


The life story of the Cardiovascular and Respiratory system

The cardiovascular and respiratory system like everything else grows in early years and by the time you’re 3 your lungs and heart look like a mini version of an adults.

Your lungs mature by the time you are about 20-25 years old and when the lungs stop growing so does the size of all the major organs involved in the cardiorespiratory system. After about the age of 35, it is normal for your lung function to gradually decline. In fact as we get older, our arteries thicken, our aerobic capacity decreases, our bones get thinner and our diaphragm weakens … and this is why we need to exercise!

When you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Just like regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes your lungs and heart stronger. As your physical fitness improves, your body becomes more efficient at getting oxygen into the bloodstream and transporting it to the working muscles.

Some types of exercises can be found in purestretch and yoga classes that can also strengthen the muscles of the neck and chest, including the diaphragm and the intercoastal muscles that work together to power inhaling and exhaling.

Short Term Effects of Exercise on the Cardiovascular System

Many short-term effects take place during physical activity, including:

  • Faster heart contractions. This leads to an increased heart rate and increased circulation, which gets oxygenated blood to your muscles quicker.
  • More forceful heart contractions with each heartbeat, which leads to a greater amount of blood being pumped throughout the body.

Long Term Effects of Exercise on the Cardiovascular System

A well-conditioned athlete can see long term cardiovascular effects from exercising in as little as two weeks. People who are just beginning to exercise will see effects in up to four weeks. These effects include:

  • The heart and lungs become more efficient as your cardiovascular training increases.
  • Decreased resting heart rate, which means your heart doesn’t have to beat as often to circulate blood.
  • Improved ability to draw in deeper and longer breaths and take fewer breaths.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease.

…… Exercise is a great thing!

New Revise Form Here


New Feedback Form Here