How much oxygen does a person consume in a minute?

Oxygen is present in the air that we breathe, and it is a great thing we need it for living. Everyday functions of the body, such as moving the muscles, ingesting and digesting food, and even just sitting and relaxing, requires oxygen. It is so essential that it can be fatal if you are deprived of it.

With that, an average person inhales and exhales 5-8 liters or about a quarter of a cubic foot of air each minute. In totality, an individual breathes 11,000 liters or 388 cubic feet every single day.

Inhaled air, when broken down in volume, will give us roughly 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. The remaining 2% account for small amounts of other gasses, such as carbon dioxide, neon, helium, argon, and hydrogen.

While the inhaled air is made up of 21-percent oxygen, the exhaled is around 16-percent oxygen. This means that only 5% of the total volume of oxygen is consumed by a person in every breath and converted to carbon dioxide. An average person consumes around 550 liters of oxygen r 19 cubic feet per day.

Of course, that is an estimate for an average person as the amount of oxygen consumed per minute or per day differs depending on how much work a person does. An individual who is exercising or doing strenuous tasks will require a lot more oxygen to support the body. When active, the breathing rate can go up 40-60 times each minute to cope up with the demand.

In a healthy state of relaxation, the breathing rate is around 12-20 times per minute. Multiply it to the liter consumption per minute, 21% of the result will be oxygen. 5% of the said amount will be the amount of oxygen consumed per minute.

 It is the respiratory system that processes all the oxygen consumed and ensures that all cells receive the oxygen they require to function. The mouth and the nose serve as the entry point of the respiratory system, and this is where the air enters the human body. All inhaled air passes through the trachea then into the lungs. The body uses the diaphragm, a muscle situated at the bottom of the chest, to draw in and exhale air through the nose and mouth.

When a person performs tasks, oxygen is consumed, and carbon dioxide is released as a waste product. Another job of the lungs is to remove the waste gas, carbon dioxide, through respiration. The brain receives signals from the body to detect the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

If in case, any build-up of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, the brain signals the muscles used for breathing to adjust the breathing rate as needed. Thus, we breathe heavily when we’re active. The transportation of oxygen to the muscles speeds up, and to ensure that it can do their tasks efficiently.

With that, the total amount of oxygen consumed per minute varies per person, depending on the work they do. Moreover, another factor to consider in measuring such volume is underlying conditions, such as lung infection, or respiratory syndrome, which can lessen the capacity to breathe and the volume the lungs can hold at the given time.

More Readings:

Oxygen (Wikipedia)

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