GENERAL ASPECTS OF ENDURANCE AS A BASIC PHYSICAL CAPACITY
WHAT ENDURANCE IS?
We understand endurance as the ability to maintain an effort efficiently for as long as possible, and it consists of the body’s ability to provide energy to cells to perform their function, including muscle cells.
From this energetic point of view there are two types of endurance, aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic is that in which energy is obtained by degrading nutrients together with oxygen, and the anaerobic is that in which energy is obtained by degrading nutrients, but with an insufficient supply of oxygen. In most efforts, a mixture of both aerobic and anaerobic pathways occurs.
TYPES OF ENDURANCE
One of the main reasons of fatigue is the insufficient supply of oxygen to the muscles, since when the demand is greater than the amount that the body can provide, energy is obtained anaerobically and lactic acid is produced. Based on the way of obtaining energy, two types of endurance can be differentiated:
- Alactic anaerobic.
- Lactic anaerobic.
All physical activity has percentages of both types of endurance: an effort of 10 seconds has, approximately, an aerobic component of 15% and an anaerobic component of 85%, while in a moderate physical exercise of two hours the aerobic component will be around 90% and the anaerobic of 10%.
Also called organic endurance. It is the ability to perform long duration and moderate or low intensity efforts. Energy is obtained through the oxidation of glycogen and fatty acids. Oxygen arrives in a sufficient quantity to carry out the activity, maintaining a balance between energy expenditure and oxygen supply.
To train aerobic endurance it is essential to take into account the heart rate. A person who at rest has between 60 and 70 bits per minute (bpm) will be able to perform aerobic work up to 140-160 bpm, from there the work will be fundamentally anaerobic.
It is the ability to withstand efforts of great intensity and short duration. In this type of activity, the oxygen supplied is less than that necessary to carry out the activity aerobically, which is the reason the effort cannot be very prolonged. This type of endurance is not recommended for people of developmental age, although it is normal that at certain moments of sports practice children and young people pass through anaerobic phases. We can find two different types of anaerobic endurance: the lactic one and the alactic.
ANAEROBIC ALACTIC ENDURANCE
These are efforts of maximum intensity and very short duration, just a few seconds. The energy used is that which is stored in the muscles involved, so oxygen is not needed to produce that energy, nor is lactic acid generated as waste.
ANAEROBIC LACTIC ENDURANCE
These are efforts of maximum intensity and short duration, just a few minutes. The energy used comes mainly from the oxidation of energy substrates without the presence of oxygen, which generates lactic acid as a waste product.
TYPES OF ENDURANCE DEPENDING ON THE EFFORT LEVEL
They can be classified into three large groups: maximum, submaximal or average effort.
Maximum intensity efforts
- Heart rate exceeds 180 bpm.
- The duration varies between 3-5 seconds and 10-15 seconds.
- Recovery occurs after 1-2 minutes or when the heart rate drops to 120 bpm.
- The energy source are the deposits of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate).
- Does not require oxygen.
- The cause of fatigue is the depletion of these energy sources.
- Examples: speed racing; short-term explosive efforts (jumps, throws, sprints, weightlifting…)
Submaximal intensity efforts
- Heart rate is above 140 bpm.
- Duration between 1-3 minutes.
- Recovery, after 4-5 minutes or when the heart rate drops to 90 bpm.
- The main energy source comes from the breakdown of sugars, glucose and fat.
- The causes of fatigue are: insufficient oxygen consumption, and the accumulation of lactic acid.
- Examples: 200 and 400 meter races in athletics; team sports such as handball or soccer, etc.
Medium intensity efforts
- Heart rate between 120-140 bpm.
- Duration from 3-5 minutes onwards.
- Minimal recovery in efforts of short duration, and between 3-5 minutes in greater efforts.
- The main energy source comes from the breakdown of fat.
- The main causes of fatigue are utilization of existing reserves, low blood sugar, loss of mineral salts, and ion imbalance.
- Examples: activities that require low intensity and long duration, such as distance running, cycling, long swimming events, rowing and skating.
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Endurance by Rubén Lezcano Villalba is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0