When you're active, your body needs energy. The food you eat provides the building blocks to keep your body healthy and active. But how does your body use food and stored energy to keep you running strong? ATP, the powerhouse molecule, provides the energy your body needs.
What is ATP?
ATP, Adenosine Triphosphate, is an organic molecule. It is made up of an adenine nucleotide that's bound to three phosphates.
What Does it Do?
ATP provides your body energy. Whether you're digesting dinner or running a marathon, your body relies on ATP to get the job done.
How Does ATP Work?
An ATP molecule holds a lot of energy, so when it breaks down, the energy releases and can be used by the body. The body creates ATP most often through two systems that break down sugars and fatty acids.
During anaerobic respiration, the body creates ATP without oxygen. You use this system when you sprint. A byproduct of this pathway is lactic acid.
During aerobic respiration, your body creates ATP with the help of oxygen. With this system, the body does not create ATP quickly, but it can keep producing ATP for a long period of time. Your body relies on this pathway during endurance events.
Article Written By Kathrine Cole
Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.