Fatigue and the recovery process

HideShow resource information

Depletion of fuels

  • Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscle, it is used used as the primary energy source following PC depletion
  • Glycogen is used in both the lactic and areobic energy pathways
  • Glycogen stores are made up of the metabolic process after breakdown of carbs, fats and proteins
  • It is used dependent on the ability to resynthesise its stores from other sources
  • During exercise blood sugar levels increase, this is a result of both muscle and liver glycogen being broken down into glucose molecules: stored ATP is used up, PC is used up, muscle glycogen is used up, liver glycogen is broken down
  • When liver glycogen levels begin to run low the resulting low blood sugar levels in blood produces a feeling of lethargy and fatigue
  • Fat could be used if the intensity of the activity was low enough but it can only be burned in the presence of some glycogen
1 of 11

Lactic acid

Lactic acid was previously seen as a by product of metabolising glucose for energy, new research has shown that DOMS, which was often blamed on lactic acid, is caused by microscopic tears to the muscles and inflammation rather than lactic acid

Now lactic acid is seen as another important fuel source in the body, it is formed from glucose and is used by working muscles for energy

It is said that the muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid, the the lactic acid is absorbed and converted to a fuel by mitochandria in muscle cells

Training at high intensities is said to allow the body to create aditional proteins that help absorb and convert lactic acid to energy

2 of 11

Central governor theory

Previously, muscle failure was put down to a depletion of fuels, such as glycogen, and the build up of lactic acid, which would alter the pH within the muscle, starting the metabolic processes

The Central Governor Theory suggests that your brain paces your muscles to keep them from exhaustion, when the brain says its time to stop, distressing sensations are sent to muscles which the athlete interprets of fatigue

3 of 11


Results from excessive water loss, accompanied by salt and calcium loss, this can lead to cramps and loss of muscle efficiency

As more water is lost the volume of plasma in blood will decrease and concentration of remaining salt will increase

This will result in:

  • decreased blood pressure
  • decreased tissue fluid formation
  • increased thirst 
  • increased heart rate
  • retention of body heat
  • declining performance

So electrolyte replacement is also required if performance is to be maintained

4 of 11

Cooling down

Involves performing some kind of light, continuous exercise so that the heart rate remains high

Purpose is to keepmetabolic activity high and capilaries dilated so oxygen can be flushed through muscle tissue, removing and oxidising any lactic acid that remains, preventing blood pooling in veins which results in dizziness is exercise is stopped abruptly

Heart rate can be used as an indicator of duration required, with a varying intensity

The last part of the cool down should involve stretching

5 of 11

Lactic acid removal

More than half of the lactic acid is removed within 15 minutes after exercise and the rest within the hour

Elevated heart and ventilation rates must be required for other functions than lactic acid removal, increased temperature, growth and repair of tissue, reloading energy stores and reloading myoglobin all require oxygen

The respiratory and cardiac muscles will be working harder and they also require oxygen

As the heart works harder, it will also require more oxygen, and tissue repair and the redistribution of calcium ions will both rewuire energy and therefore oxygen

6 of 11

Restoration of ATP/PC and glycogen stores

There is a post exercise "window of opportunity" for replenishment, fatty foods or simple sugars can be consumed during this period, not necessarily stored as fat but instead will be converted and used in the process of replensishing PC and Glycogen.

The replenishment will not be as quick as it would be if complex carbs were consumed, the better the quality of carbs ingested the quicker the recovery

7 of 11


Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen consumption

Refers to ventilation and elevation and heart rates after exercise when compared to levels before

If not enough ATP can be produced aerobically, then glycolysis will take over as the predominant method of ATP supply, with its rapid depletion of muscle glycogen and production of lactic acid 

8 of 11


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

It appears that DOMS is due to tissue injury caused by excessive mechanical forces that have been applied to muscle and connective tissue

DOMS is result of eccentric work and may occur because of structural damage within muscle membranes, the breakdown of muscle proteins causes an inflammatory response,which is created as fluid shifts from blood plasma to damaged tissues, local pain receptors are then stimulated by this excessive fluid

Muscle soreness can be minimised by:

  • building training intensity gradually
  • cross training

The fitter the athlete the less they will suffer from muscle soreness

9 of 11

Carbohydrate loading

Carbo loading is a legal way of boosting the amount of glycogen in the body before a competition or event

For the body to increase its muscle glycogen levels rather than converting and storing the excess fat, it must be stressed by not refuelling with carbs immediately after exercise

This will encourage the body to hold onto additional carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen the next time they become available

10 of 11

Ergogenic aids

Ice baths

  • Immersion allows controlled and even constriction around all the muscles, effectively closing microscopic damage that cannot be felt and numbing pain that can be felt
  • A physiological reaction is provoked by the large amount of muscle submerged. The body fights back from the shock of rapid cold immersion by sending a blood rush that flushes the damage inflicting wate from your system, while the cold water on the outside preservs contraction

Compression clothing

Benefits include:

  • better muscle alignment and structure, which
  • reduces muscle damage
  • improves circulation
  • increases awareness of muscle operation
  • an increase in anaerobic threshold
  • power
  • endurance
11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Physical Education resources:

See all Physical Education resources »See all Fatigue and the recovery process resources »