The 3 Energy Systems easily explained

During exercise your body relies on three basic energy systems: the anaerobic a-lactic system, the anaerobic lactic system, and the aerobic system. Depending on the sport you play, you may rely on one system more than the others.



The anaerobic a-lactic (ALA) system, also known as the ATP-CP, or adenosine triphosphate – creatine phosphate system, provides high bursts of start-up energy for activities that last less than ten seconds in duration.
Athletes who compete in sports that require high amounts of short duration acceleration – power lifters, 100m sprinters, or discus throwers  use the anaerobic a-lactic system. The ALA system does not create energy for sufficient duration to create a great deal of waste products.

The anaerobic lactic (AL) system(also known as fast glycolysis) provides energy for medium to high intensity bursts of activity that lasts from ten seconds to two minutes. soccer players and moderate distance runners (400m-800m)  rely on this system. The anaerobic lactic system, as well as the ATP-CP system, are capable of high intensity levels.Oxygen is not present with anaerobic exercise. When we exercise anaerobically glycogen is used as fuel
The primary difference between the two systems is in the capacity of the system. You can think of capacity as the amount of time that the system can work at peak output before dropping off.
Whereas the ATP-CP system will only produce energy for 10 seconds, fast glycolysis works at capacity for as long as two minutes. As a result, waste products such as lactic acid accumulate in the blood and in muscle cells. A burning sensation in the muscle, shortness of breath and fatigue are all symptoms of lactic acid build up.

Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise helps build lean muscle mass. Calories are burned more efficiently in bodies that have more muscle. Anaerobic exercise is especially helpful for weight management in that it helps to burn more calories even in a body at rest. Anaerobic exercise can also help build endurance and fitness levels.

The aerobic system is the most utilized of the three. It provides energy for low intensity activities that last anywhere from two minutes to a few hours. Unlike the other two systems, the aerobic system requires oxygen and takes much longer to overload. Sports and activities that use continuous sustained efforts such as distance swimming, crew (rowing) and sea kayaking rely on the aerobic system.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

It is difficult to overstate the benefits of aerobic exercise. It not only improves overall health and quality of life, but may also extend your life. Aerobic exercise burns fat, improves mood, strengthens the heart and lungs and reduces your risk of diabetes.



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