How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar? Time to Find Out

You’ve probably been fed with tons and tons of information regarding cellular respiration and breathing by your physician, friends, and personal tutor. Cellular respiration is an automatic body function whereas the quality of our breathing patterns is improved with exercise.

Breathing involves exhaling and inhaling air. On the other hand, cellular respiration includes the exhalation, inhalation, and air exchanges that take place in the lungs. If that is the case, then how are breathing and cellular respiration similar? Let’s find out!

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar?

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

The similarity between cellular respiration and breathing is one that people can barely explain; they were probably never serious with their biology. All the same, we are here to get the answers.

The similarity between breathing and cellular respiration is that breathing provides the oxygen molecules required for cellular respiration to take place. 

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

When you breathe in, the oxygen needed for respiration is provided. When you breathe out, carbon dioxide produced by respiration leaves the body. This is a clear indication that these two body processes depend on each other and without either of them, the other cannot take place. For the whole process to begin, glucose and oxygen are required

But since the body does not produce oxygen, it needs to acquire it through breathing. During respiration, body cells receive the energy they need to perform their tasks.

This energy is usually produced by breaking down fuel molecules like fats, carbohydrates, and lipids, through a process called oxidation. Water and carbon dioxide are the two waste products of cellular respiration.

How Does the Respiratory System Respond to Exercise?

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

The respiratory system, which consists of a series of body parts including the nasal cavity, diaphragm, and lungs, is responsible for the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the body tissues and muscles. When you exercise, cellular respiration increases to fuel the working muscles.

Oxygen Transport.

To meet the increasing demand for oxygen, additional oxygen must be moved through the blood vessels to the working muscles. During exercise, the veins constrict so as to return more blood to the heart. This blood is rich in carbon dioxide released after cellular respiration has occurred in the body muscles and can increase the heart’s total stroke volume by 40 to 50 percent.

Respiratory rate.

With an increased amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen transport, the rate of cellular respiration increases, and so does the speed of breathing. This increase is also attributed by the sympathetic nerves triggering the respiratory muscles to increase the breathing rate.

At rest, the respiratory rate is just about 14 per minute, and it increases to 32 per minute when you exercise.

Long-term Response.

A long-term response of the respiratory system to exercise involves an array of physiological adaptations. In the long term, these adjustments lead to an increase in an overall efficiency of the respiratory system to collect, transport and deliver sufficient oxygen to the body muscles. Through regular training and exercise, the effectiveness of your respiratory system increases.

How Can You Improve Your Respiratory System Health?

The respiratory system is tasked with supplying your blood with sufficient oxygen. The trachea filters the air you breathe, the lungs facilitate absorption of oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, and the diaphragm supports healthy breathing. Besides medications, when needed, here are ways to aid in strengthening and improving your respiratory system.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

Excess body weight is not only a burden to your legs but also puts more stress on the lungs, and it compresses your respiratory muscles forcing them to work hard to meet the body’s demands for oxygen.

Be sure to stick to a diet that’s easy to follow, nutritionally sound, most importantly, one that helps you maintain your body weight. Whether you choose healthy eating or plethora or aerobic exercises, take it seriously and shed the extra pounds.

Stay Hydrated

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

Drinking lots of water on a daily basis aids in maintaining a healthy body weight and gives a thin consistency to the mucous lining of your lungs and airways. Dehydration can cause the mucus lining to thicken and get sticky, which may slow down the respiratory process and worst of all, make you more prone to illness.

Avoid Smoking

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

Smoking damages the lungs and causes deterioration of the respiratory system’s health by inducing cell inflammation, speeding oxidative stress in the respiratory cells and even cell death, potentially leading you to the inevitable path of lung cancer and chronic lung disease. It’s essential that you quick smoking, which does more harm than good to the lungs

Learn Yoga Breathing Techniques.

How Are Breathing and Cellular Respiration Similar

If you are a shallow breather, learning yoga breathing techniques can help you breathe more efficiently. Taking long, deep breaths will not only help in better lung function but also give you a sense of calmness.

Besides, some yoga breathing techniques are quite renewing and an excellent form of lung exercise. Over time, it can increase your lung capacity.


Cellular respiration is a critical process in the body’s daily functions, and it supports most of the body’s functions. Good respiratory system health means that the body muscles have sufficient fuel to support all body processes, from the most basic process to the rather complex processes. For better respiratory system health, you need to:

  • Always stay hydrated
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight

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