Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

What is Breathing?

Breathing is a natural process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide from the body through a natural phenomenon which takes place among all the species on Earth. This process does not require any consent from the body it happens biologically in all the creatures on the planet Earth.

Simply put the biological process that involves the lungs or gills and the outer environment to exchange gasses is called breathing. This process involves the nose through which we take in air, passing through the windpipe the air reaches the lungs, where only the oxygen is mixed up with the blood and carbon dioxide, is exhaled from the blood through our lungs.

Inhaling the oxygen and exhaling the carbon dioxide through our system is termed breathing. Breathing is a vital process which is the basis of further complex processes involved within our body.

Breathing is a ventilation process which involves the muscles of the diaphragm. The contraction and expansion of the muscles which is a physical process make it possible for the air to get into our system.

The mechanism through which breathing happens is a physical mechanism which involves the physical organs of the body. It happens at the primary level voluntarily, subjecting to getting no permission from the body.

What is Respiration?

Respiration as opposed to breathing is not physical, but a chemical process. The process involves the biochemical procedure of releasing energy which is an integral part of our bodies to function.

Respiration takes place at a cellular level where energy is released as the end product, the energy released thus helps the body to function at a primary level. The by-product of respiration is energy which is key to our bodies’ function.

Respiration works by bringing oxygen to the cellular level where the oxygen which is mixed up with the blood breaks down food to glucose through a chemical reaction at a cellular level. Owing to the complexity involved in the breakdown of glucose respiration is characterized as a chemical process that happens in internal organs.

According to the complexities involved respiration can further be divided into two types.

Aerobic respiration ensures the presence of oxygen to change to energy while anaerobic respiration does not involve oxygen, it happens in the muscles of the human body.

Enzymatic activities also take place in respiration. The enzymes get mixed up with the blood in the presence of oxygen to produce energy. The enzymes get chemically mixed up with the oxygen and the food in the blood to generate energy.

Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

The significant difference between breathing and respiration is the level at which both take place. Breathing happens physically while respiration takes place at a cellular level.

Breathing involves the exchange of gases while respiration involves the chemical composition of materials to generate energy which is the vital component for our moving bodies to function properly.

A physical process which involves the expansion and relaxation of our muscles to get enough space for air to get in and come out of the body is breathing.

The chemical process that involves enzymes to circulate energy is respiration.

Comparison Between Breathing and Respiration

Parameters of ComparisonBreathingRespiration
PresenceHappens physically involving environment and the physical organs  takes place internally using internal organs
OccurrencePhysical process occurring as gaseous exchangeBiochemically occurring at cellular level
ActionCan be voluntary or involuntary depending on the activityTotally involuntary action
EnergyNo energy producedEnergy is a by-product
EnzymesNo involvement of enzymes just a physical processCompletely enzymatic activity occurring as a chemical composition


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02124.x
  2. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/104336/files/pdf