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1. Introduction
2. What is blood doping?
3. How does it work?
4. Respiratory physiology
5. The physiology of endurance sports
6. Ventilation during endurance sports
7. Cardiac output during endurance sports
8. Aerobic metabolism during endurance sports
9. Conclusion - blood doping kills
10. References

During endurance exercise at a steady pace (or even vigorous exercise which lasts more than several minutes duration), aerobic reactions provide the important final stages for energy transfer. A graph of oxygen uptake over time would show an exponential rise in the first few minutes, followed by a plateau. This represents the steady state which reflects the balance between energy required by working muscles and ATP production.

As the workload is increased there is a rapid increase in oxygen uptake, which is directly proportional to exercise severity. The region of the graph where oxygen uptake plateaus, and shows no further increase with an additional workload, is called maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2max. Additional work is accomplished via energy transfer reactions of glycolysis with a resultant formation of lactic acid. Exhaustion follows and the athlete can not continue.

VO2max quantitively expresses a person's capacity for resynthesis of ATP. This means it is an important factor in determining a person's ability to sustain high intensity exercise. A high VO2max is dependent upon, not only increased levels of haemoglobin but also, an integrated response from physiologic support mechanisms, namely blood volume and cardiac output; peripheral blood flow; aerobic metabolism; and pulmonary ventilation. It is difficult to know where to begin in a system that is so well integrated.

Ventilation during endurance sports >


Article published: 10th June 2003