Lactic acid build-up is a common problem for athletes who push their body too hard. It’s what causes that burning feeling in your muscles during exercise, and can lead to soreness and fatigue. In this article, we’ll explain:
- what lactic acid is
- why it builds up in your body
- how to deal with it
- how to prevent it
What is Lactic Acid
If you’re constantly experiencing muscle cramps, it’s time to get yourself checked out. Cramps are the result of lactic acid buildup in your muscles. In order for your muscles to function properly, they need both glucose and oxygen. Lactic acid is a byproduct of using up oxygen without replenishing glucose, which makes it hard for the body to function properly and much more susceptible to soreness or fatigue after exercise.
The solution? You can treat lactic acid buildup by drinking an electrolyte-heavy beverage like Gatorade or Powerade (or something similar), taking magnesium supplements, eating bananas, eating bananas and chocolate milk together, exercising more aerobically (like on the treadmill or elliptical), working out in the morning when your blood is still warm rather than late afternoon when it’s cold outside (which causes blood to clot more quickly), increasing your overall caloric intake while also consuming smaller meals throughout the day instead of one big meal each day, and/or doing strength exercises like pushups (planks are not going to cut it)
Why Lactic Acid Builds Up
Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration is a normal process that occurs in the body when it is under a great deal of stress, such as during fast-paced exercise or when the amount of oxygen available to the body has been reduced for some reason.
Lactic acid can significantly affect exercise performance and there are ways to reduce its production. The following sections will explore how lactic acid affects your muscles, how muscle aches can be caused by lactic acid and how you can reduce lactic acid build-up.
How to Get Rid of Lactic acid build-up
Lactic acid build-up can be prevented with a few simple techniques. The first thing you should do is make sure to get enough rest, as this will help your body recover and rebuild muscle fiber. Stretching before each workout will also help reduce muscle tension and improve their range of motion. The most important thing to do after an intense workout is massage the muscles thoroughly in order to increase blood flow. Other remedies include taking a warm bath or ice bath and doing light exercise or gentle stretching the day after an intense workout.
How to Prevent Lactic Acid Build-Up
Lactic acid build-up is a common occurrence in athletes and people who engage in regular strenuous exercise. It can be prevented by gradually increasing the amount of exercise one does. This allows the body’s metabolism to keep up with the higher demands made on it. Stretching before and after exercise increases muscle flexibility, which reduces the chances of injury that could occur from lactic acid buildup. Additionally, including some exercise sessions with a lower intensity into your routine will allow muscles to recover without lactic acid building up during the process. A balanced diet and plenty of water are also recommended to prevent lactic acid buildup during exercise.
In conclusion, learning the difference between lactic acid and lactate, as well as the causes, symptoms and treatments of lactic acid build-up, is essential for anyone who is serious about their fitness. Lactic acid build-up may not be a killer condition that can cause death if left untreated, but it can sure leave you feeling sore and uncomfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is lactic acid?
Lactic acid is a natural compound that is produced by your body during exercise. It’s also called lactate and is created in the muscles, so it can be a problem when you’re working out.
What causes lactic acid build-up?
During exercise, your body goes through energy cycles that produce energy without oxygen (which we call anaerobic metabolism). Lactate or lactic acid doesn’t have to be present for this process to occur. This means that lactate will actually increase after exercise stops, even if you are just resting. So the presence of lactate does not mean you are still exercising! In fact, if you feel the muscle burn during and after your workout, it isn’t actually from lactate buildup; it’s from your other muscles needing oxygen to repair themselves after being worked hard by the previous activity.