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Aerobic vs Anaerobic Practise (Handout) What is the difference between exercising aerobically and anaerobically? How does this relate to Hatha yoga? The difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise lies in systems used to release energy. The first energy system is the ATP PC system, muscles store adenosine triphosphate, when muscular activity begins the muscles contract the actin and myosin bridge crosses breaking off phosphate molecules releasing energy and creating adenosine diphosphate. The bond can be temporarily restored by phosphate creatine (also stored in the cells of the muscles) the phosphate molecule binds with the ADP recreating ATP to be broken down to release energy and so on, this whole system can only provide energy for 10 seconds and is anerobic. Once the PC stores are empty the body needs to use glycogen to rebuild ATP, this system is referred to as glycloysis. During glycolysis, glucose is broken down into pyruvic acid and some of the energy released is used to form small amounts of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which provides the energy required by the muscles to contract again a by product of this is lactic acid. Lactate formed in skeletal muscle can enter the circulation, be taken up by the liver, and converted back to glucose via gluconeogenesis. This glucose can then re-enter the circulation and be returned to the muscle, which can use it as a fuel substrate. This system last for around 120 seconds and is anerobic. The pyruvate produced in glycolysis undergoes further breakdown through a process called aerobic respiration in most organisms. This process requires oxygen and yields much more energy than glycolysis. Aerobic respiration is divided into two processes: the Krebs cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain, which produces ATP through chemiosmotic phosphorylation. The energy conversion is as follows C6H12O6 + 6O<SUB<2< sub> -> 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy (ATP) In Krebs cycle once oxygen is present the pyruvic acid begins a series of chemical reactions which create ATP and thus release energy. Krebs cycle is an aerobic system and can continue as long as there is sufficient oxygen present. However if the heart rate rises above the aerobic threshold and the heart is unable to beat fast enough to replenish the oxygen needed for aerobic exercise anerobic sytems kick back in. (The aerobic threshold, point at which anaerobic energy pathways start to operate, is considered to be around 65% of maximum heart rate. This is approximately 40 beats lower than the anaerobic threshold) How does this effect Hatha yoga? Although yoga is much more than this for the purpose of looking at energy systems within Hatha yoga I will be treating it as an exercise system. Depending upon the type of exercise undertaken different energy systems are used, for example a long distance runner would in the first few minutes of movement use ADP – PC system then lactic acid spending the majority of the run fuelled by Krebs cycle potentially shifting back to anerobic systems at the end of the race should a sprint be needed to win the race. In Ashtanga yoga a similar process would take place, the sun salutations would warm the body enough to get the heart moving increase aerobic respiration and move from anaerobic to aerobic systems. During the majority of the practice the aerobic system would be continued to be used maintained through vinyasa and ujahi breath. However a beginner may need to approach vinyasa with caution as an untrained body would reach its aerobic threshold much faster and slip into anerobic systems inevitably causing fatigue. In this case maybe half the number of vinyasas would be appropriate, the heat maintained through the breath. There is a likely hood that most practitioners will at some point slip from aerobic to anaerobic due to a number of causes for example over exertion, holding of the breath even under exertion but if attention is paid throughout the practice this can be rectified. Other forms of Hatha yoga utilise the energy systems differently a slower practice where the heart rate is not raised may well never leave the anerobic systems particularly in the more weight baring asanas, whereas a slow yet regular practice will stay within the lower levels of the aerobic energy systems. In general in yoga as in most systems whether the body uses aerobic or anaerobic systems depends on the intensity and duration of the training, a short fast - anaerobic, a moderate sustained movement -aerobic.
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