Provide an example of a sport athlete who, in the course of competing, uses all three major energy pathways. Describe the individual demands that elicit the use of the energy pathways, how long the body utilizes each pathway as its main energy source, and why the utilization of all three is necessary for the athlete to compete.
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Introduction: One of the main goals in sports physiology is to determine the mechanisms behind the energy pathways used during exercise. In order to optimize athletic performance, it is important to understand how the body uses different energy systems during different types of activities.
Answer: An example of a sport athlete who uses all three major energy pathways is a soccer player. Soccer is an intermittent, high-intensity sport that requires periods of explosive sprinting, jumping, and kicking, followed by periods of low-intensity activity, such as jogging or walking.
The first major energy pathway, the ATP-PCr system, is used during the initial, high-intensity bursts of activity, such as a sprint or a jump. It provides a short-term energy source for up to 10-15 seconds of activity. For example, when a soccer player takes a penalty kick or a short sprint to get to the ball, the ATP-PCr system is utilized.
The second major energy pathway, glycolysis, is used during prolonged, high-intensity exercise that lasts up to 2-3 minutes. During this process, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then used to produce additional ATP. For example, when a soccer player is running at a fast pace for a few minutes, glycolysis is the main energy pathway used.
Finally, the third major energy pathway, oxidative phosphorylation, is used during low-intensity, prolonged exercise that lasts longer than 3 minutes. This pathway relies on oxygen to produce ATP and is therefore used during activities such as jogging or walking around the field. For example, when a soccer player is jogging or walking off the ball, oxidative phosphorylation is the main energy pathway used.
It is essential for athletes such as soccer players to utilize all three energy pathways in order to perform optimally. This ensures that they have a constant and steady supply of energy regardless of the type of activity they are engaged in. By having a combination of energy pathways available, the athlete can maintain a consistent level of performance throughout the game.
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