Inhalation is carried out by reducing the external intercostal muscles and the diaphragm – a dome-shaped tendon-muscle septum that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. Intercostal muscles lift and deflect the ribs somewhat to the sides. When the diaphragm shrinks, its dome drops, resulting in an increase in the volume of the chest cavity. The lung tissue has elastic properties – it is able to stretch, so the lungs follow the chest. With calm breathing, exhalation occurs passively. The external intercostal muscles and the diaphragm relax, the ribs return to their original position, and the chest volume decreases.
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