How Much Oxygen Does a Person Consume in a Day?

By: Sherry Kahn  | 

asian woman breathing
You use about 2,000 gallons (7,570 liters) of air every day. Oscar Wong/Getty Images

The average adult male's lungs can hold a maximum of 6 liters (about 1.5 gallons) of air, according to the American Lung Association. This includes air from a normal breath, plus extra air you can force in, additional air you force out after a regular exhalation, and any air left in the lungs after all that. The association estimates that you consume 2,000 gallons (7,570 liters) of air per day.

The air that is inhaled is about 20 percent oxygen, and the air that is exhaled is about 15 percent oxygen, so about 5 percent of the volume of air is consumed in each breath and converted to carbon dioxide. Therefore, a human being uses about 100 gallons (378 liters) of pure oxygen per day (5 percent of 2,000 gallons).

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A person who is exercising obviously uses a lot more oxygen than that. You could determine how much air is moving through your lungs by exhaling into a plastic bag of known volume at each breath and seeing how long it takes to fill the bag.

Originally Published: Apr 1, 2000

Breaths Per Day FAQ

How many breaths per day is normal?
A healthy person with a good respiratory system should breathe around 16 times in a minute. This comes to approximately 23,000 breaths in one day.
Is 10 breaths per minute bad?
A low breathing rate describes a condition called Bradypnea. The recommended breathing rate for a healthy adult is between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. Ten breaths per minute signals a weak respiratory system.
Is it good to always take deep breaths?
Deep breathing is a good exercise to reduce stress. It allows for slowing down heartbeats and stabilizing the blood pressure.
How can I check my breathing rate at home?
Sit up straight in a peaceful place and breathe at a normal rate. Count how many times your abdomen or chest rises in one minute. Do this a few times to see the consistency. Record your breaths and check whether they fall within the recommended range of 12 to 20 breaths per minute.

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