ATP Energy Production & Exercising

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is a highly intricate chemical compound that is formed during energy production. As the foods that we eat are metabolized, ATP is created and stored in all of the cells throughout our bodies. It is especially stored in our muscle cells. As ATP is broken down, our bodily cells are enabled to perform their duties. Besides the energy that is created, another chemical called ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) is also.

For losing weight does that mean, a couple of things to you, especially if you’re trying to lose weight by exercising. It means that your body requires plenty of oxygen and that means that you need to concentrate on breathing deeply as you’re exercising. It also means that your body has to have a certain amount of time to recover from physical exertion. When you deplete your energy storages and create an oxygen debt, your body must undergo certain processes to rejuvenate itself. This takes time.

Adenosine Triphosphate is the primary chemical compound that fuels your ability to engage in physical activity. Without it, your muscles are unable to perform. Without Creatine Phosphate, oxygen, glucose and glycogen, your ATP levels would be depleted and unable to regenerate. Regular physical activity, a diet filled with nutrient-packed foods, plenty of fresh water and attentive deep breathing will all act in conjunction to optimize your energy production.

The 4 energy pathways

ATP is one of four energy pathways that enable our bodies to perform work of all types including athletics, walking or even just sleeping. Everything takes energy.

The other three energy pathways are:

  • Creatine Phosphate which is also stored in our muscle tissues and combines with ADP to add the extra phosphate needed for the manufacturing of ATP.
  • Lactic acid is the main metabolite formed by the lactic acid system and makes our muscles “burn” with overexertion. It is formed as a result of glucose being incompletely metabolized.
  • Oxygen. The aerobic system produces large amounts of ATP and is the most significant source of energy for activities requiring endurance.

ATP Production

  • When muscles contract, ADP is produced and then coupled with Creatine Phosphate to form ATP.
  • Muscle tissues also receive ATP from the glucose that is traveling through the blood and also from glycogen breaking down.
  • As the duration of the work or exercise being performed increases, carbohydrates and free fatty acids located in the cell’s mitochondria must be completely oxidized.
  • After all of the CP storages are depleted in the muscles, glucose and glycogen begin to be broken down to form ATP. This results also in the production of hydrogen and lactate ions. When the ions accumulate, fatigue occurs.
  • During endurance activities, the flow of blood is increased in the muscle tissues. This happens as the blood vessels dilate. This happens so that available oxygen can be delivered more readily. However, as exertion continues, not enough oxygen can get to the muscle tissues. This means that not enough ATP can be produced to continue the muscular contractions.

The significance of lactic acid and oxygen debt

When ATP is formed by the process of anaerobic glycolysis, a compound called pyruvic acid is converted into lactic acid. Most of this lactic acid is then sent to the liver and converted back into either glycogen or glucose. This process requires plenty of oxygen. So, after the exertion has ended, oxygen is used to metabolize this lactic acid and replenish the ATP, CP and glycogen energy storages. This extra oxygen is also used to replace oxygen that had been borrowed from the myoglobin, hemoglobin, bodily fluids and even the air in the lungs. The amount of oxygen that must be delivered to replenish these systems is known as the oxygen debt.

So, to summarize, after physical exertion, the amount of oxygen used for the following is called the oxygen debt:

  • to regenerate ATP
  • to remove the buildup of lactic acid
  • to rejuvenate the myoglobin and hemoglobin oxygen levels
  • to regenerate glycogen energy storages
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