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What happens to my lungs when I exercise? During exercise, two of the important organs of the body come into action: the heart and the lungs. The lungs bring oxygen into the body, to provide energy, and remove carbon dioxide, the waste product created when you produce energy. The heart pumps the oxygen to the muscles that are doing the exercise. When you exercise and your muscles work harder, your body uses more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide.
To cope with this extra demand, your breathing has to increase from about 15 times a minute (12 litres of air) when you are resting, up to about 40 60 times a minute (100 litres of air) during exercise. Your circulation also speeds up to take the oxygen to the muscles so that they can keep moving.
When your lungs are healthy, you keep a large breathing reserve. You may feel out of breath after exercise, but you will not be short of breath. When you have reduced lung function, you may use a large part of your breathing reserve. This may make you feel out of breath, which can be an unpleasant feeling, but it is not generally dangerous.