How the Lungs Work The Lungs
Your lungs are the pair of spongy, pinkish-gray organs in your chest.
When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lungs, and from that air moves to your blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide, a waste gas, moves from your blood to the lungs and is exhaled (breathed out). This process, called gas exchange, is essential to life.
The lungs are the centerpiece of your respiratory system. Your respiratory system also includes the trachea (windpipe), muscles of the chest wall and diaphragm, blood vessels, and other tissues. All of these parts make breathing and gas exchange possible. Your brain controls your breathing rate (how fast or slow you breathe), by sensing your body’s need to get oxygen and also get rid of carbon dioxide.
Healthy lifestyle habits, such as physical activity and not smoking, can help prevent lung injury and disease.