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Structure and Function of the lungs
When you breathe air is drawn through your nose or mouth, down through your throat into a 10cm long pipe called the trachea or wind pipe. The air travels through the trachea and into two smaller air pipes called the bronchi, one traveling into the right and one into the left. These bronchis send the air into thousands of smaller bronchis called bronchioles, until the air reaches the gas exchange sacs or alveoli.Inside the alveoli, oxygen moves across paper-thin walls to the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) and into the blood. It is then picked up by chemicals (haemoglobin) in the red blood cells that carry it around the body. At the same time, waste products from the body, in the form of carbon dioxide, come out of the capillaries back into the alveoli, ready to be breathed out. Breathing is a big part of everything, every one does it, you do it without thinking. Breathing is a big part in sport also. You need breathing to help pay off the oxygen debt in your muscles and get rid of the lactic acid that has been building up. We also need breathing to add oxygen with food (glucose), carbon dioxide and water to get energy.
Respiration and sport
glucose + oxygen -> water + carbon dioxide + energy
C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6H2O + 6CO2 + ATP
We can't live without food or oxygen, and we can easily see why from this equation.Oxygen and food (food is in the form of glucose) are the two ingredients in aerobic respiration. We can also see from this equation why our breath contains moisture and carbon dioxide, since both water and carbon dioxide are both products of aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration takes place in organelles called mitochondria because they contain certain enzymes that are necessary for aerobic respiration.
Glucose -> Ethanol + Carbon Dioxide + Energy
C6H12O6 -> 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 + Energy
There are different equations for anaerobic respiration for different types of organisms. The one above is for animals and humans. In this equation there is only one ingredient for anaerobic respiration and that is glucose. If you're running really fast your breathing rate may not be quick enough to meet your bodies need for oxygen but the muscle cells in your body can use anaerobic respiration to get the energy they need (the muscles) without oxygen. This is good and bad. The good is that the chemical reaction for anaerobic respiration is quicker and doesn't require oxygen, so it's good for a quick energy boost. The bad is that the chemical reaction doesn't release near as much energy, and instead of producing carbon dioxide and water, it produces lactic acid. A build up of lactic acid can lead to cramps and burning, and this is why your muscles hurt when you exercise hard. The build of lactic acid is because of the lack of oxygen in your muscles because of anaerobic respiration, and this leaves you panting for a while even after you have stopped exercising. This is because your body needs to pay back the oxygen, kind of like a debt. An Oxygen Debt
Aerobic and Anaeroic Respiration
Humans need food and oxygen to survive, like all living organisms. This is called Cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a process all living organisms use to get the energy that is stored in their food as chemical energy. There are two types of Respiration. They are called aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration. The difference between these two types is that aerobic requires oxygen where anaerobic doesn't.
These two types of respiration won't work if it weren't for your lungs and the way they were structured and function.
With each period of exercise you perform, there are changes in the expression of genes important in the formation and function of mitochondria. Through a process known as mitochondrial bio genesis, exercise has been shown to increase the production of these energy producing cellular structures, thus enabling cells to withstand longer periods of energy expenditure without fatiguing. By increasing mitochondrial volume in skeletal muscle, the cells' ability to perform aerobic respiration is significantly improved with exercise training. With an athletes diet, athletes eat alot of nutritious foods to keep their body healthy and in shape, but nothing helps cellular respiration like sugar. Your body converts the sugar (glucose) into usable energy. This explains why kids get really hypo from eating anything with a lot of sugar, because the more sugar to convert, the more energy.