Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

Breathing and respiration are defining characteristics of living organisms. However, these terms are not synonymous and there are significant differences between the two.

Respiration is the biochemical process of releasing energy, which can be utilized by our body cells to perform various daily activities like walking, sitting, running and many other life processes. Moreover, respiration is an essential and vital process for maintaining the proper functioning of the organ system. Breathing is the physical process of inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide from the lungs to promote gaseous exchange within the body.

Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

  • As stated above, breathing is the physical process of exchanging gases between the cells and the environment. The mechanism of breathing involves various respiratory structures such as the windpipe, lungs, and nose.
  • Respiration, on the other hand, is a chemical process that takes place in the cell. The air that we inhale, brings oxygen to the lungs and is carried by the blood to the cells, where it helps in the breakdown of glucose which results in the generation of energy. This energy is used by the cells to carry out their respective functions.

Let us look at more differences between breathing and respiration

Breathing Respiration
Breathing involves the process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide Respiration is the process of breaking down of glucose to produce energy which is then used by cells to carry out the cellular function.
Breathing takes place in the lungs. Respiration takes place in cells.
Breathing is a voluntary physical process. Respiration is an involuntary chemical process.
No energy is produced during the process. Energy is released in the form of ATP.
It is an extracellular process, as it occurs outside cells. It is an intracellular process, as it occurs inside cells.
No enzymes are used during the process. A large number of enzymes are used during the process.
Breathing takes places through respiratory organs like lungs, nose, etc. Respiration takes place in cells and cell organelles like mitochondria, etc.

From the differences given, we can conclude that breathing and respiration are two different processes and cannot be used interchangeably.

Main Article: Respiration

Also Read:

Learn more about respiration, its process, types or concepts related to breathing only at BYJU’S Biology


  1. Muhammad Salman Iqbal

    this is most helpful site

  2. Very much helpful

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