When does respiration occur?

Respiration, or breathing, is when you draw air in through the nose and mouth and into the lungs. Like all movements in the body, those of respiration rely on muscle power. There are two main sets of breathing muscles: the intercostal muscle and the diaphragm. Breathe in deeply and watch your ribs rise and your chest expand. Together these muscles make the chest bigger and stretch the spongy lungs inside. As the lungs enlarge, they suck in air down the windpipe. This is how we breathe in. Then the muscles relax. The ribs fall back down and the diaphragm resumes its domed shape as the spongy, elastic lungs spring back to their smaller size. The lungs blow some of their air up the windpipe. This is how we breathe out.

The movements of breathing are controlled by the brain. It sends out signals to make the muscles contract. The signals pas along nerves to the intercostal and diaphragm muscles, making them contract. This happens every few seconds throughout our life, even when you are asleep.

File Fact:

The average person at rest breathes in and out about 10-14 times per minute. If you sing or play instruments like trumpets, you need lots of puff. Learn to use the muscle under your lungs to get more lung power.


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