Lactic Oxygen Debt

Last Updated: May 9, 2018

Definition - What does Lactic Oxygen Debt mean?

Lactic oxygen debt occurs when there is a short term oxygen shortage in the body following intense exercise. With intensity spiking, there comes a point when the body cannot breathe quickly enough to take in sufficient oxygen to meet the energy demand. This results in anaerobic respiration where energy is generated without oxygen. The debt is repaid once an individual stops exercising and breathes heavily to make up for the extra oxygen used during the work out. Heavy breathing also indicates breakdown of lactic acid until it has been oxidized.

Lactic oxygen debt is also known as oxygen debt.

WorkplaceTesting explains Lactic Oxygen Debt

During a bout of intense exercise, the body requires additional energy to perform. As such, it needs to get more oxygen into the muscles to convert into energy. The result is deeper and faster breathing. However, once the point is reached where it is impossible to take in enough oxygen to fuel the muscles the body will begin breaking down stored glucose to create energy. This is not without downsides as the lactic acid created in the process is toxic and can cause muscle soreness and other issues if exercise is continued to be fueled in this manner for too long.

Once the workout is over, the individual breathes heavily to recover from the oxygen debt created by breathing anaerobically, This recovery will actually demand additional oxygen to make up for the difference between what the body actually required and what it was able to breathe in.

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