ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Respiratory Rate in Response to Exercise

Updated on September 23, 2009

Respiratory Rate in Response to Exercise

Upon initiation of exercise, we all experience an increase in our breathing rate. There are several factors that influence this breathing rate and how fast it occurs. The respiratory system consists of Lungs, and the air passage ways which lead air to the lungs. Furthermore, the lungs have within them gas exchanging compartments called alveoli. Its here at the alveoli that the vital exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.
Normal respiration rate, which we would all experience throughout the day is a passive process controlled by the respiratory control center within the Medulla Oblongata of the brain. This normal respiration rate remains constant most the day, but with the initiation of exercise there is a dramatic change in the respiratory rate. Although normal respiration rate is controlled by the respiratory control center, there are several other factors which take action during exercise.
As you can see from the graph, there is an initial increase in minute ventilation before the exercise begins. This small increase in minute ventilation is a response to the mere thought of beginning exercise. The thought of beginning exercise sends signals from higher brain centers to the respiratory control center to increase minute ventilation even before exercise begins. This can be seen as the body’s way of getting primed to begin exercise.
After the initiation of exercise, we can see from the graph that there is a quick jump in minute ventilation. Why does minute ventilation rise so quickly, when the carbon dioxide levels in the blood are still fairly normal? This spike in minute ventilation come from signals sent from mechanoreceptors in the skeletal muscle to the respiratory control center in the brain. These mechanoreceptors detect contraction and force application of skeletal muscle. So this signalling from the mechanoreceptors in the skeletal muscle are responsible for the quick jump in minute ventilation at the onset of exercise.
As exercise continues on, other factors begin to influence our minute ventilation. Chemoreceptors, which may detect changes in temperature or concentrations of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions sends signals to our respiratory control center to increase minute ventilation. As exercise continues, we being to see larger quantities of carbon dioxide in the blood as a bi-product of metabolism. Chemoreceptors near the heart and within the skeletal muscle detect this increase in carbon dioxide and in response increase minute ventilation beyond that of the normal respiratory rate.
After cessation of exercise, minute ventilation does not just return to the normal respiratory rate. Within the blood there remains large quantities of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions which need to be dealt with. So as you can see from the graph, minute ventilation tapers down back to the normal respiratory rate so as to eliminate the excess carbon dioxide in the blood through respiration. The amount of time this takes depends on the individual and the quantity of carbon dioxide within the blood.

Muscles Involved in Respiration

There are several muscles involved in the process of breathing. At normal respirations rates, breathing is passive; does not require thinking on our part to perform. The diaphragm is the primary muscle involved in respiration; this muscle contracts downwards into the abdomen and protrudes the abdomen outwards slightly under maximal inspiration. Also assisting in inspiration are the intercostal muscles between our ribs which contract and expand during breathing, muscles of the neck which pull up on the clavical and rib cage allowing the thoracic cavity to expand and allow maximum inspiration. The purpose of all muscles involved in inspiration is to expand the thoracic cavity as much as possible during maximum inspiration.
The only muscles which assist in expiration are the muscles of the abdomen. Including, the inner and outer abdominals as well as the external and internal oblique muscles which contract the abdomen and force the lungs to expire air. If you expire as hard as you can you will feel your abdomen contract.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      add a reference

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Merely a smiling visitor here to share the adore , btw outstanding style. Audacity, more audacity and always audacity. by Georges Jacques Danton. efdkdefdbdke

    • profile image


      5 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

      Ron from Fitness

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      just need to make it simpler

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The graphs too small. Make it larger and more visible :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)