Weirdly Interesting Just How Fast Do Your Basic Bodily Functions Move?  

Laura Allan
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The human body is a miraculous thing and it's always in constant motion. Your blood flows, your lungs inflate, you pass gas, and the speed of body functions never ceases. But just how fast do these functions move? You might be surprised that some of them travel faster than a speeding car, while others move at about the same speed as a tiny ant. No matter how you look at it, the speed of basic body functions is something worth learning about, even if it's just to satisfy your curiosity.

Keep in mind that everyone's body is different. Your velocity of body functions varies depending on how healthy you are, if you're engaged in sexual activity or other strenuous acts, as well as environmental conditions. Many of them do stay pretty constant though, even if those speeds are breakneck.

Your body functions mph may not seem like they'd be surprising, but some of these numbers may shock you. What we have in store is a little math, a little exploration, and even a little grossness. You may never see your body the same way again. 

Your Diaphragm Moves An Inch Per Second


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When you breathe, your lungs inflate and deflate, but how does your body make that happen? One way they do that is your diaphragm moves to pull air in, and then push it out. This happens all day, every day, though the breathing rate may change. No matter how quickly you are breathing, your diaphragm moves at about an inch per second. That's a little more than .05 miles per hour. It may not seem like much, but give the diaphragm it's due credit! It's helping your lungs pull in about two gallons of air per minute.

Normal People Chew About An Inch Per Second


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Photo:  PBS

When you watch competitive eaters, it can seem like their jaws are moving at turbo speed. (Well, they kind of are, but they also use stomach stretching and breathing techniques.) But the question here is how fast does a normal person chew? 

When your teeth move up and down, they do so at the rate of about an inch per second. That may sound like a lot, and for the short distance that they move, that is pretty quick. But when you do the math and look at it in the scope of miles per hour, it's actually moving at a pretty slow 0.05 mph. Still, the swallowing part has got to move faster than that, right?

Food Moves Down Your Throat At .04 MPH


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Photo: Internet Archive Book Images/flickr/No known copyright restrictions

When you swallow food, it can feel like you're bringing food into your stomach very quickly, which is partly true. But once the bite of food enters your esophagus, it slows down an awful lot. Waves of contractions down your throat bring food to your stomach at about three quarters of an inch per second, which is even slower than your teeth move when chewing. Translated into miles per hour, that's only a little over 0.04 mph, which is much slower than it might feel. Depending on how long your esophagus is and what type of food you are eating, the food can take five to eight seconds to reach your stomach.

Your Pee Flows Half An Ounce Per Second


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Photo:  Girls/HBO

Depending on how much you've had to drink, relieving your bladder can take a few seconds or up to a minute (or longer if you're Tom Hanks.) How much you've had to drink can also change the level of pressure on your bladder, which will in turn influence how fast urine leaves your body. While there are variations, of course, there is a rough average for how fast humans pee, and it's a little faster than you might think.

It's not as fast as ejaculate, but urine moves out of us at about half an ounce per second (with variance between ages and genders.) If you were really putting some pressure behind it, it could be faster.