Monday, January 9, 2012
Aerobic Fitness and ATP
Whenever you exercise your body uses a molecule called adenosine triphosphate or ATP for short. Aerobic fitness is therefore defined by you getting your heart pumping. But to get the best aerobic exercise it needs to be an extended duration of medium intensity; such as jogging. If you were to up the intensity level during your activity your body would need to work to convert more oxygen into ATP. Eventually though your body won't be getting enough ATP from oxygen alone. When you've surpassed all the energy you can get from oxygen but still need more your body starts to perform anaerobic processes. Anaerobic exercise completely bypasses using oxygen to give our cells energy as we are used to. And it comes with a painful price known as lactic acid. Just how long you can go before the need for anaerobic respiration is a good overall measure of your fitness. Doctors can actually measure this, while you are simultaneously exercising to exhaustion. The number they get is called your VO2max, it gives you a good idea of how in shape you are and with months of work can be improved.