Life Measurement – Years? or Breathes?

Life is a watch as much as the key God moves [Hindi translation जीवन एक घडी है जितनी चाबी भरी भगवन ने उतनी ही चलती है]. An average man lives around 70 years and during his life time his breaths and heart beats are limited. A man lives more or less his quota of beats and breathes unless he dies accidentally.

This principle is applicable to all living being on the earth. The life expectancy as we see today depends on lot of other parameters such as lifestyle, pollution, eating habits, immunity, exercise levels, exercise types.

Two oxygen atoms were walking along the street when one stops and says, “Oh my goodness, I feel more radical. I think I’ve lost an electron!” “Are you sure?” asks his companion. “Yes,” replies the first oxygen atom. “I’m positive.”
Old chemistry joke

As we know, Oxygen oxidizes every thing metal, non-metal. Rusting of metal is a well-known example of oxidation. Oxygen is reactive to almost every element.  Our body also oxidizes. Our body is made of power plants called mitochondria which burns Oxygen and fats to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  ATP is kindly of charged battery which supplies energy for most cellular activities. 

Mitochondria processes one atom of Oxygen and two hydrogen atoms and forms water molecule during this chemical process. In this process, toxics (pollutants) are generated called free radicals

Free radicals are unstable atoms which have lost their atoms in the process of chemical process tries to restore their initial state by stealing atoms from adjacent cells and thus destablizing the entire chain.  Over production of free radicals can damage cells, causing illness and aging. 

An average man takes around 74 Crores (740 Million) of breathes during his life span of 70 years (avg). During this time his heart beats 300 Crores times (3 Billion) 4 times more than the breathes he takes.

Following table gives a fair estimate of how beats and breathes are observed by other species of living beings

We observed that there is no correlation between weight and age of a species in terms of years.  However, we noticed that the number of breath and beat is higher than human being in case of animal species living lesser number of years.  Now we will see the numbers of heart beats and breaths by a species during its life time (on an average)


We saw total breaths ranges from 74 Crores (Human) to 16 Crores (cats and dogs).   in their respective life span.

breaths per year

In the table on left, we observed that on an average all species take 1 Crores breaths per year. The intent to of this table is not to establish life expectancy, but to establish correlation between life and breaths.

The breath rate per year amongst man, cows, cats and dogs are in the similar range of breaths per year i.e. 1.00-1.25 crores.  Please observe that all species have lived together for ages.  Man domesticates cows, dogs and cats.  Is this the reason? More scientific studies should be carried out.

Chicken takes 3.85 Crores breaths while Monkey takes 2.23 Crores breaths per year.  

Tortoise, Elephant, Camel, Pig are in the range of 0.21 – 0.74 Crores breaths per year.  We saw higher the breath rate lower the life expectancy in terms of years.

Did you notice? Whale the heaviest mammel on earth, takes about only 10 thousand breaths in an year and still survives 80 years of its average life.
This is despite the fact that water consists only 1% oxygen as against 21% oxygen in the air. Isn’t this astonishing that Whale takes 1000 times less breathes than human beings and that too in water which oxygen is further 20 times lesser. So by taking 20,000 lesser oxygen whale is capable of surviving a life span equal to human being

We saw more oxygen per minute is actually oxidising and reducing our life span.  By controlling our breaths we can control and limit damage by oxygen. In Ancient time, Sages use to live 1000 years. They use to do meditation and samadhi in clean pollution free environment.  They probably trained their breathing technique to extend their life span.  A video by Yog Guru Baba Ramdev is worth watching for beginners (ailing people particularly with breathing problem should consult their doctors before training breathing techniques)

By limiting oxygen consumption we can actually live stronger, healthier, radical free, youthful life till eternity.