Every day of your life, there are two spongy organs working hard on your behalf. Without them, your body wouldn't be able to take oxygen from the air or remove harmful carbon dioxide from your body. These superstars are your lungs, and they work in conjunction with the airways, blood vessels, and muscles of the respiratory system. Most of us go through our day breathing normally and never giving much thought to how it happens. Let's explore the functions of the lungs and five amazing facts about these life-giving organs. What do your lungs and a tennis court have in common? Read on to find out!
Every Breath You Take
The average person takes up 20,000 resting breaths per day! The respiratory system is fast at work during each of these breaths. A serious of events take place to during each breath that keeps your body functioning well. Here's what happens in your body every time you breathe.
First, when you breathe in, your diaphragm, a muscle below your rib cage constricts downward making room in your chest cavity for your lungs to expand. The air travels from your move or nose down your windpipe, passing your bronchial tubes and entering the air sacs in the lungs called alveoli.
The thin walls of the alveoli allow the oxygen to connect with small blood vessels called capillaries where red blood cells move the oxygen to your blood, veins, tissues, and heart. At the same time, the harmful carbon dioxide is removed from the air and breathed out when your diaphragm relaxes, and you exhale. All of this takes place automatically for an average of 20,000 times a day!
If this process doesn't make you appreciate your lungs, take a look at the following five fascinating facts about these powerful organs.
Let's Take This to the Tennis Court
If you could zoom in on your lungs, you'd find a network of interconnected tubes, about 600 million of them! If you were to unfold and stretch out all the tubes in your lung, it would cover an area about the size of a tennis court!
A Lot of Hot Air
On average a person breathes an average of 13 pints of air every 60 seconds! That's the equivalent of about three and a half 2-liter bottles of air. Next time you grab your favorite soda from the shelf, think about breathing in 3.5 that much air each minute.
Sizing Up Your Lungs
Did you know your lungs aren't the same size? That's right! In humans, the right lung is larger than the left lung to make space for your heart!
Sink or Swim
Because your lungs are made up of tube-like air sacs, they are the only organs in the body that can float when filled up with air.
Fill Them Up
You can improve your lung capacity through regular exercise! People that exercise regularly expand their lung capacity and can send oxygen through their body faster. To put this in perspective, consider the fact that Michael Phelps, an Olympic swimming champion, has a lung capacity that is double the size of an average man!
In the time it took you to read this article, your respiratory system has kept you healthy and breathing without you even noticing! Every breath we take is a testament to the amazing ways our body works in harmony – the lungs are no exception! For more information about lung health, visit Augusta Health Pulmonology.