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Does Cellular Respiration Increase as a Person Does Exercise?


Cellular respiratory is a set of processes and reactions that occur inside the cells of a living organism. They aim at converting chemical energy from oxygen molecules to energy that can be used by body tissues (Budin 1186). Additionally, these reactions convert nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The cellular reactions involved during the respiration process are catabolic. They break large molecules into smaller ones hence releasing energy used by the body.

The reason behind this is that weak high-energy bonds particularly in molecular oxygen are replaced by stronger bonds in the products (Budin 1186). It is through respiration that a cell produces its chemical energy that stimulates cellular activity. All the reactions generally take place in a sequence of biochemical stages where a number of the reactions are redox (Budin 1187). Even though respiration that happens in the cells is a combustion reaction, it does not seem to be one especially when it happens in a cell of a living organism (Budin 1187). The reason behind this is the decreased release of energy from the series of reactions that take place.

Examples of nutrients used by plant and animal cells during respiration comprise fatty acids, amino acids, sugars, and oxygen (O2). O2 is the most important agent that provides chemical energy to the body (Budin 1187). The energy that is stored up in ATP is then used to drive processes that depend on this energy (Budin 1187). These are processes such as the transportation of molecules across cell membranes, locomotion, and biosynthesis.

Cellular respiration occurs in the cells of all organisms; for instance, it takes place in autotrophs and heterotrophs such as plants and animals respectively. The process of respiration begins in the cell’s cytoplasm and ends at the mitochondria which is a membrane-enclosed organelle in the cytoplasm (Budin 1187). It is also known as the “powerhouse” of the cell because of the role it plays in the respiration processes (Budin 1188). Therefore, cellular respiration is a chemical reaction that takes place in a person’s cells thus creating energy. When a person does exercise, muscle cells require adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to contract (Budin 1188). This energy originates from oxygen; therefore, cellular respiration depends on oxygen which is breathed in and creates carbon dioxide in response which is breathed out.

C6H12 + 6O2 => 6CO2 + 6H2O + 36 ATP (energy)


Cellular respiration increases as a person do exercise.

Experimental Design

During this experiment, the main focus is finding out whether cellular respiration increases as a person does exercise. Therefore, this research will examine how increased muscle activity affects the rate of cellular respiration (Calbet 101478). We gather 50 young men aged between twenty and thirty years. The young men will then be divided into two groups. Data will be taken from the first group on various respiratory indicators such as heart rate, and amount of carbon dioxide produced (Calbet 101478). Data will also be collected on the same respiratory indicators from the second group after they have performed some exercise

Measurement of the rate of breathing and heart rate is calculated per minute. The amount of carbon dioxide produced is determined by the time taken for blue bromothymol to change color (Calbet 101478). The amount of carbon dioxide produced is determined by breathing through a straw into a bromothymol solution (BTB) (Calbet 101478). BTB serves as an acid indicator; therefore, after reacting with acid its color changes from blue to yellow. Additionally, there is the formation of a weak acid after carbon dioxide reacts with water (Calbet 101478). The more carbon dioxide a person breaths through the BTB solution, the faster the solution changes color to yellow.

6CO2 + 6H2O => 6HCO3 + 6H+

Expected Results

Expected graph when a person is at rest


Exercising affects the heart rate in that during workouts, the heart typically pumps faster so that large volumes of blood can move around the body. Additionally, the heart may increase the volume of its stroke by contracting more forcefully or enhancing the amount of blood that fills the left ventricle before pumping (Michael 301). In general, when one is exercising, the heart beats much stronger and faster thus increasing cardiac output (Michael 301). The main reason why the heart increases the rate and amount of blood it pumps is to cater for oxygen requirements by the body muscles when exercise.

During exercise, there is higher production of carbon dioxide because of increased muscles activity resulting from increased work out. In addition, the muscles need more energy to contract and relax. Various changes take place in the body so that this can be achieved (Michael 301). For instance, the rate of oxygen intake when breathing enhances to provide the body with more oxygen. CO2 generated by the body muscles during contraction also needs to be eliminated from the body (Michael 301). Therefore, the heart rate improves supplying body tissues with required oxygen and eliminating CO2 that has been generated by the body.

If the quantity of oxygen supplied to the muscles is insufficient because of forceful and longer exercising, the heart and the lungs are not capable of providing enough oxygen to the body. Therefore, body muscles start to respire anaerobically; lactic acid is generated from glucose, instead of CO2 and water causing the muscles to start contracting less efficiently (Michael 301). Where the body is involved in vigorous activity, there is increased build-up of lactic acid, and glycogen stores in the body are deprived because the respiration processes use more oxygen (Michael 301). This causes extra glucose to be moved from the liver. Increased concentration of lactic acid leads to the production of oxygen debt.


Cellular respiration increases as a person exercises; this is because of the increased working of the muscles. This is true no matter the type of exercise that a person does (Kocher 1035). For instance, if one is lifting weight; muscles are used and will give the body fitness of the model (Kocher 1035). However, when doing cardiovascular and aerobic exercises, one uses one muscle in particular; the heart is one of those muscles (Kocher 1035). When a person engages in exercise, the body needs to generate enough energy to enable one to perform the required activity effectively. As a result, the rate of respiration in the body increases as one exercises.


Budin, Itay, et al. “Viscous Control of Cellular Respiration by Membrane Lipid Composition.Science 362.6419 (2018): 1186-1189.

Calbet, Jose AL, et al. “An Integrative Approach to the Regulation of Mitochondrial Respiration During Exercise: Focus on High-Intensity Exercise.” Redox Biology 35 (2020): 101478.

Kocher, Morgan, et al. “HIV Patient Systemic Mitochondrial Respiration Improves With Exercise.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 33.10 (2017): 1035-1037.

Michael, Scott, Kenneth S. Graham, and Glen M. Davis. “Cardiac Autonomic Responses During Exercise and Post-Exercise Recovery Using Heart Rate Variability and Systolic Time Intervals—A Review.” Frontiers in Physiology 8 (2017): 301.


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