Sean Van Staden
Columnist
4 minute read
4 Jul 2021
9:00 am

Breathing is crucial in improving health and fitness

Sean Van Staden

Increased lung capacity raises the potential for more energy production.

South African swimmer Garth Tune does some breathing exercises ahead of a race. Picture: Gallo Images

Oxygen is necessary for every cell in your body, to improve muscle functioning and increase energy levels. Air is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and then small amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium and hydrogen. An average person breathes in 12 breaths of “air” per minute with an average tidal volume (amount of air intake) of 0.5 litres per breath, or six litres per minute. When you are exercising, your breathing rate increases and is approximately 30 breaths - or 90 litres - per minute. The oxygen is extracted from the air in your lungs and enters...