Oxygen debt

Hyperventilation persists for a period of time following cessation of exercise and is due to the oxygen debt incurred during exercise. Specifically, oxygen is needed for the following metabolic processes:

• Restoration of creatine phosphate reserves

• Metabolism of lactic acid

• Replacement of glycogen stores

During the recovery period from exercise, ATP (newly produced by way of oxidative phosphorylation) is needed to replace the creatine phosphate reserves — a process that may be completed within a few minutes. Next, the lactic acid produced during glycolysis must be metabolized. In the muscle, lactic acid is converted into pyruvic acid, some of which is then used as a substrate in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway to produce ATP. The remainder of the pyruvic acid is converted into glucose in the liver that is then stored in the form of glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscles. These later metabolic processes require several hours for completion.

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