Analyse the 3 different energy systems and explain their contribution to different sports and activities.

Introduction. Within this learning objective I will be analysing the 3 separate energy systems that compose our bodily energy functions and demands. Here I will outline the three basic energy pathways, their interactions with one another and their relevance to different sporting activities. The body needs a constant supply of energy in order to perform everyday tasks and activities. When we start to exercise the rate at which our body uses energy increases and the efficiency of the energy supply is one of the major factors determining athletic performance. Production of energy for physical activity has to be able to cope with extreme demands and situations, e.g. the vast variation between 100m where large amounts or energy is needed very quickly, compared to a marathon where the energy must be made available over a prolonged period of time. Some people are physiologically better suited to specific sporting activities because their bodies are efficient at releasing energy in a particular way. Below is an exploration of energy within our bodies. Energy can be seen as the ‘ability to perform work’’ (Advanced PE for OCR A2) and is measured in joules or calories. The more calories we consume, the more exercise we have to carry out in order to burn off the energy provided. If we don’t use this energy it is stored until required and we put weight on. The below quotation taken from (Advanced PE & Sport A level third edition. John Honeybourne et al 2004) provides us with a simple equation to help us understand ‘’Food (chemical energy) is converted into movement (kinetic energy) or is stored as fat (potential energy)’’ Energy can exist in different forms. These being; • Kinetic – Energy seen as muscle movement. Fr example, running, hitting, jumping. • Chemical – Energy stored in compounds in our bodies. For example, ATP, phosphocreatine, carbohydrates and fats. • Potential – Stored energy waiting to happen. For example, ATP does nothing until the phosphate group is released with the help of ATPase.

Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is adenosine triphosphate. This compound is the only immediately usable form of energy stored in out bodies whether its running a 26mile marathon or performing an explosive interception in netball, skeletal muscle is power by one compound, this being ATP.. Although we have other energy rich compounds such as phosphocreatine and glycogen, ATP is the only one that can be utilised by the muscles to create forms of movement. This energy is so readily available because ATP is stored within the muscle cell. The only problem being only a small amount of ATP storage is achievable in our bodies. The total mass being a mere 85g, enough to last us for approximately two seconds of exercise. To maintain exercise beyond these two seconds, ATP has to be re-synthesised from adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a phosphate group (‘P’ or ‘Pi’) This energy is stored in the bond between the last two phosphate groups. When this bond is broken by the action of the enzyme ATPase, energy is released that can be used by the muscle cell to contract. Below is a diagram taken from the quoted text book to illustrates the clear pattern ATP performs when being broken down.

Fig. ATP (Advanced PE for OCR A2) ATP re-synthesised. ATP stores are low in our bodies and so ATP has to be re-synthesised to keep exercising. Depending on the intensity of the exercise, this is

achieved by three energy systems. I t is important to realise systems do not work in isolation. This can be proved by (Classroom notes - Mr. Evans) who states that ‘’the three systems work with each other as a team, one becoming the primary system when needed.’’ The amount of ATP re-synthesis done by each system will depend purely on the intensity of the exercise and two systems can work at the same period of time to re-synthesis ATP. Below I will investigate each system and its way of providing ATP before looking at how the systems combine as one to provide a constant supply of ATP for working muscles. Several energy sources are available which can be used to power the production of ATP. These are listed as of below;

Creatine Phosphate Fat Carbohydrate Protein

Chemical reactions that give out energy or heat, such as the breakdown of ATP, are known as exothermic reactions. When a compound is built up (or synthesised) energy is needed to restore the bonds between the molecules. A reaction that needs energy to work is known as the endothermic reaction. ATP ADP + P + energy ATP (exothermic) (endothermic)

ADP + P + energy

Once the energy production from the breakdown of ATP has been used our energy needs to be put back in the form of an endothermic reaction, to re-form ATP. There are three ways that this is achieved in the human body. - The phosphocreatine system (ATP/PC) or alactic system - The lactic acid system or glycolysis - The aerobic process.

The Phosphocreatine system. This system uses another high-energy compound known as phosphcretine to provide the necessary energy to combine ADP and P. Pc = P + C + Energy (exothermic) Energy + ADP + P = ATP (endothermic) These chemical reactions take place in the sarcoplasm of the muscle cell and do not need oxygen to proceed, this system is known as an anaerobic system. It provides ATP re-synthesis very quickly because the PC is stored in the muscle cell meaning there are few steps in the reaction, no oxygen is required therefore no delay occurs when producing. This system provides energy for very high-intensity exercise such as high jumping, kicking a ball, or hitting a powerful tennis serve. However due to the lack of space there is very little PC stored in the muscle cells, meaning energy will only be provided for a maximum of ten seconds. (Physical Education and the study of sport Bob Davies et al 2000) states that ‘’ When hard physical activity exceeds the time limit or threshold up to which the ATP-PC system operates (all PC is used up) ATP is regenerated by a process which consumes carbohydrates. This process is known as the lactic acid system.’’ A major feature of training for speed endurance and power athletes would be anaerobic work whose purpose would be to delay the onset of the alactic-acid threshold.


The Lactic acid system. The lactic acid system is another anaerobic system that does not require oxygen to function, it depends on a chemical process known as glycolysis. This time the fuel used is carbohydrate – a compound made of carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen that is found in foods. Carbohydrate, stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, is converted to glucose by the enzyme glycogen phoshorylase and undergoes a series of reactions known as anaerobic glycolysis started by the enzyme phosphofructokinase (PFK) until eventually it is converted to pyruvic acid. During the process, two moles of ATP are re-synthesised. Due to the lack of oxygen, the pyruvic acid is converted to lactic acid by the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. The relatively large amount of glycogen stored in our bodies allows for the accounting of more ATP than in the PC system, like the PC system there is no oxygen requirements, therefore there is nor delay in oxygen being supplied from the lungs. Events such as 400 meters (lasting between 43-60 seconds of flat out effort) rely heavily on the lactic acid system. After exercise has stopped extra oxygen is taken in to remove the lactic acid by changing it back into pyruvic acid, this is known as repaying the oxygen debt.

( Aerobic system. As the name implies, this system requires oxygen as a fuel alongside glycogen or fat to re-synthesise ATP. This system relies on the presences of oxygen to break down carbohydrates and fats completely into carbon dioxide, water and energy. The first part of the system is identical to the lactic acid system. This is then further explained by advanced pa and OCR A2 Daniel Bonney et al 2004) who shares the dissimilarity ‘’The only difference is, when oxygen is readily available, and the intensity of

exercise allows, the pyruvic acid is moved into another set of chemical reactions instead of being converted into lactic acid.’’ This process occurs via a series of 10 chemical reactions within the call sarcoplasm. From this point on, all chemical reactions involved take places within the muscle cell mitochondria.(the site of the most energy production.) The pyruvic acid is taken by the coenzyme acetyl CoA into the Krebs Cyle, here a series of chemical reactions occur further breaking down the carbohydrate compound. Once this series is completed carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions are produced, 2moles of ATP are re-synthesised. If fat is being used as a fuel, it enters the Kreb’s cycle as fatty acids. The carbon dioxide is removed via the lungs and hydrogen atoms enter the next series of reaction. This occurs in the cristae of the mitochondria, and here electrons are removed from hydrogen and passed down the electron chain providing energy to re-synthesise 34 moles of ATP. A large amount of ATP can be re-synthesised. 36 to 38 miles can be produced from one mole of glycogen, even more from fat, as well as this the duration of activity can last for hours. This system is the main provider for events such as the marathon because of its ability to house large amounts of energy within the cells.

Thresholds. The threshold of any system is the point at which that energy system is unable to provide energy. For example the threshold of the PC system is the point at which PC can no longer provide energy for the working muscles. (Around 10 seconds)

Figure to shown the energy systems thresholds.

Bibliography. - Advanced PE & Sport A level third edition. John Honeybourne, Michael Hill and Helen moors. (2004) - Physical education and the study of sport. Bob Davies, Ross Bull, an Roscoe and Dennis Roscoe. (2000) - Advanced PE for OCR A2. Daniel Bonney, John Ireland, Claire Miller, Ken Mackreth and Sarah van Wely (2004)

- Classroom notes. Olivia McCarthy 12PDL.