Muscle Fatigue

Muscle cells store glycogen, which is used as a source of energy when the blood cannot deliver adequate amounts of glucose. The breakdown of glycogen releases large amounts of energy, but sometimes even those reserves are used up. During prolonged and vigorous exertion, fat molecules are utilized for energy. Fat molecules contain a greater concentration of potential energy than any other molecule in the body. When energy availability fails to keep pace with its use, muscle fatigue sets in and controlled muscle activity ceases, even though the muscle may still receive nerve stimulation to move. Muscle fatigue is the physiological inability of a muscle to contract. Muscle fatigue is a result of a relative depletion of ATP. When ATP is absent, a state of continuous contraction occurs. An example of depletion of ATP is when a marathon runner collapses during a race, suffering from severe muscle cramps.

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