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This extra oxygen is known as the oxygen debt, and it helps to remove the build-up of lactic acid, replenish the stores of oxygen in the body, and build up the ATP and creatine phosphate stores in the muscles.
Regular aerobic training increases the size and number of mitochondria making the body more efficient at burning fat.
By improving the utilisation of fatty acids, the body is able to use less glycogen which is in much shorter supply.
The aerobic process takes place in mitochondria – specialised structures within the muscle cell.
They are like factories containing special enzymes which work on the oxygen.
Although the aerobic energy system is far more efficient than the anaerobic systems, it is much slower to take effect.
The energy needed for different activities varies considerably.
It is used when there is a plentiful supply of oxygen for the muscles to use while working. This system starts to ‘kick-in’ after about 3 minutes and theoretically will go on for ever.
The ADP formed during energy production uses energy from glucose/glycogen (carbohydrates), fat or protein breakdown to reform ATP.
If the activity is continued, lactic acid is produced.
After the activity has been finished, the performer needs to have a rest and take in the extra oxygen that is needed.