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How Does Exercise Affect Breathing Rate? Essay Sample

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How Does Exercise Affect Breathing Rate? Essay Sample


Different activities have different effects on the breathing rate because of the difference in the amount of oxygen needed. This investigation will assess how breathing rate changes in three different state of humans’ body: at rest, after light exercise and after heavy exercise. Base on the result we can find out the way in which our body adapts to particular activities that need different amount of oxygen or in another word, how exercises affect breathing rate.

Research question

What effect does exercises’ intensity have on breathing rate?


The increasing in the intensity of exercise results in the higher breathing rate.

+ At rest, breathing rate will maintain at normal speed to provide enough oxygen for cells to carry out aerobic respiration because at this state, body as well as muscle don’t need much energy.

+ After light exercise, breathing rate will increase slightly because during light exercises, small amount of lactic acid is generated and it needs to be broken down into energy.

+ After heavy exercise, breathing rate will increase sharply because during vigorous exercises, lung and heart are unable to get enough oxygen to muscle quickly enough, a large amount of lactic acid is generated and as a result the breathing rate must increase to get more oxygen in order to break down lactic acid into energy and stop causing cramp due to lactic acid.


Independent variable:

+ Intensity of exercises (rest, light and heavy)

Dependent variable:

+ Breathing rate is measured (unit bmp (breaths per minute))


+ Stop watch (unit s (second))

+ Poles to chin up


Step 1: Using a stop watch to measure the breathing rate at rest in one minute. 1 student breaths and another uses stop watch to count that student’s number of breaths in 1 minute.

Step 2: Do chin up 4 times in order to measure the breathing rate after light exercises. After chin up, use a stop watch to record the breathing rate in one minute (repeat step 1).

Step 3: Take a rest in 5 minute.

Step 4: Do chin up 8 times in order to measure breathing rate after heavy exercises. After chin up, use a stop watch to record the breathing rate in one minute (repeat step 1).

Step 5: Take rest 10 minute. Then repeat the procedure for more 4 times.

* Note: To calculate the average breathing rate we use the following formula:

Graph shows the difference in breathing rate at rest, after light exercise and heavy exercise:


Base on intensity of exercise, breathing rate will change to adapt the need of oxygen:

+ At rest, breathing rate maintains as normal speed. (23 bmp)

+ After light exercise, the breathing rate increases slightly compared to breathing rate at rest (40 bmp).

+ After heavy exercise, the breathing rate increases sharply compared to breathing rate at rest (55 bmp).

The result shows an agreement to hypothesis.


At rest, whole body doesn’t need much energy so that oxygen is used to generate energy to maintain the living activities.

During light exercises, muscle tissue needs oxygen to break down glucose into energy. However, there’s some time that muscle tissue doesn’t receive enough oxygen so that there’s small amount of lactic acid in muscle tissue. As a result, after exercise, the breathing rate increases at first to break small amount lactic acid into energy.

During heavy exercises, muscle tissue wasn’t provided enough oxygen quickly enough. Muscle tissue has to carry out the anaerobic respiration to generate energy, which results in large amount of lactic acid inside muscle tissue. This lactic acid can poison muscle and cause cramp, so that it must be removed from body as quick as possible. Therefore, we have to increase breathing rate in order to break down this amount lactic acid into energy.


There’s no anomaly during experiment carried out.

However, there are still some limitations.

+ The rest period is quite short so that the person who does the exercise will not fully recover, which affects the following record of breathing rate.

+ Only one person does the exercise so that it’s difficult to assess how the result depends on physical condition of each individual.

+ The temperature at that time when we carried out the experiment is quite high, which might affect the result.


+ Increase the time for resting to 10 minutes.

+ Two people do the same exercise to compare the result.

+ Choose the best time of the day when body is in the best condition and is not affected by some factors such as: temperature, health.

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