The significance of respiratory and circulatory systems for athletes

The Respiratory and Circulatory System in the Human Body By Bert Markgraf; Updated July 20, The human respiratory and circulatory systems work together to supply the body with oxygen and get rid of waste carbon dioxide. While the former deals with air and the latter with blood, they work together seamlessly by coordinating the functions of the many parts of each system.

The significance of respiratory and circulatory systems for athletes

The particular action illustrated here is called the pump handle movement of the rib cage.

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This allows a movement similar to the "pump handle effect", but in this case it is called the bucket handle movement. The color of the ribs refers to their classification, and is not relevant here. Contracting muscles are shown in red; relaxed muscles in blue. Contraction of the diaphragm generally contributes the most to the expansion of the chest cavity light blue.

However, at the same time, the intercostal muscles pull the ribs upwards their effect is indicated by arrows also causing the rib cage to expand during inhalation see diagram on other side of the page.

The relaxation of all these muscles during exhalation cause the rib cage and abdomen light green to elastically return to their resting positions. The color code is the same as on the left. In addition to a more forceful and extensive contraction of the diaphragm, the intercostal muscles are aided by the accessory muscles of inhalation to exaggerate the movement of the ribs upwards, causing a greater expansion of the rib cage.

During exhalation, apart from the relaxation of the muscles of inhalation, the abdominal muscles actively contract to pull the lower edges of the rib cage downwards decreasing the volume of the rib cage, while at the same time pushing the diaphragm upwards deep into the thorax.

In mammalsinhalation at rest is primarily due to the contraction of the diaphragm. This is an upwardly domed sheet of muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity.

When it contracts the sheet flattens, i. The contracting diaphragm pushes the abdominal organs downwards. But because the pelvic floor prevents the lowermost abdominal organs moving in that direction, the pliable abdominal contents cause the belly to bulge outwards to the front and sides, because the relaxed abdominal muscles do not resist this movement Fig.

This entirely passive bulging and shrinking during exhalation of the abdomen during normal breathing is sometimes referred as "abdominal breathing", although it is, in fact, "diaphragmatic breathing", which is not visible on the outside of the body.

Mammals only use their abdominal muscles only during forceful exhalation see Fig. Never during any form of inhalation. As the diaphragm contracts, the rib cage is simultaneously enlarged by the ribs being pulled upwards by the intercostal muscles as shown in Fig.

All the ribs slant downwards from the rear to the front as shown in Fig. The inflow of air into the lungs occurs via the respiratory airways Fig. In health these airways starting at the nose or mouth, and ending in the microscopic dead-end sacs called alveoli are always open, though the diameters of the various sections can be changed by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

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This returns the chest and abdomen to a position determined by their anatomical elasticity. This is the "resting mid-position" of the thorax and abdomen Fig. The scale on the left, and the blue line, indicate the partial pressures of carbon dioxide in kPa, while that on the right and the red line, indicate the partial pressures of oxygen, also in kPa to convert kPa into mm Hg, multiply by 7.

The volume of air that moves in or out at the nose or mouth during a single breathing cycle is called the tidal volume. In addition the " accessory muscles of inhalation " exaggerate the actions of the intercostal muscles Fig.

These accessory muscles of inhalation are muscles that extend from the cervical vertebrae and base of the skull to the upper ribs and sternumsometimes through an intermediary attachment to the clavicles.

Seen from outside the body the lifting of the clavicles during strenuous or labored inhalation is sometimes called clavicular breathingseen especially during asthma attacks and in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During heavy breathing, exhalation is caused by relaxation of all the muscles of inhalation.

But now, the abdominal muscles, instead of remaining relaxed as they do at restcontract forcibly pulling the lower edges of the rib cage downwards front and sides Fig.

This not only drastically decreases the size of the rib cage, but also pushes the abdominal organs upwards against the diaphragm which consequently bulges deeply into the thorax Fig.

The end-exhalatory lung volume is now well below the resting mid-position and contains far less air than the resting "functional residual capacity". However, in a normal mammal, the lungs cannot be emptied completely. In an adult human there is always still at least 1 liter of residual air left in the lungs after maximum exhalation.

All of these actions rely on the muscles described above, and their effects on the movement of air in and out of the lungs. Although not a form of breathing, the Valsalva maneuver involves the respiratory muscles. It is, in fact, a very forceful exhalatory effort against a tightly closed glottisso that no air can escape from the lungs.

The abdominal muscles contract very powerfully, causing the pressure inside the abdomen and thorax to rise to extremely high levels. The Valsalva maneuver can be carried out voluntarily, but is more generally a reflex elicited when attempting to empty the abdomen during, for instance, difficult defecation, or during childbirth.

Breathing ceases during this maneuver. Gas exchange Main article: Gas exchange Mechanism of gas exchange Fig. All the gas tensions are in kPa.© Copyright • AIMS Multimedia • The Respiratory & Circulatory Systems• # The Respiratory & Circulatory Systems.

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The significance of respiratory and circulatory systems for athletes

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