Although you are probably not thinking about it, you are breathing right now. We can control our breathing, but we don’t need to worry about making ourselves do it. Even if we forget, our brain will keep it going—which is good, because we need to breathe to live! The cells that make up our bodies use oxygen from the air to work.
When we take a breath, our lungs fill with air. Lungs are made up of tubes that act as airways plus tiny sacs called alveoli. Alveoli are so tiny that there are hundreds of millions of them in your lungs. Oxygen moves out of these alveoli into the blood to be transported all over the body.
All animals need oxygen to live, but not all animals have lungs. Animals breathe in many different ways. Insects breathe through holes along the sides of their bodies, fish have gills that take oxygen out of the water, and frogs can breathe through their skin!
Whales and dolphins cannot breathe underwater like fish can. They have to come up to the surface. But they only have to expose the tops of their heads. Why? Because that is where their nostrils are! These are called blowholes. Some whales have two blowholes, but dolphins and beluga whales have just one. Blowholes are covered by flaps that keep water out. When whales surface, the flap opens, and the creatures exhale hard, blowing away all the water from the opening. Then they inhale fresh air, and the flap closes again. Dolphins can hold their breath for around 10 minutes, but some whales can stay underwater for up to two hours!
Some birds seem to sing without a break for a long time. Are they holding their breath? No! Researchers found that birds do stop their songs to breathe, but these mini-breaths are so fast that we do not notice.
Lungfish have gills to breathe underwater and lungs to breathe air. Because they live in places where their watery home can dry up, they can burrow into the mud and go into a sort of hibernation to survive the dry season.
Our God is an incredible designer, and God’s amazing creation points us to God. Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord .” So take a big, deep breath and sing or shout your praise to God!