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Going for the Burn: Lactic Acid

Going for the Burn:
Lactic Acid

What's lactic acid?
Is lactic acid harmful?

Have you ever heard fitness gurus or coaches use the expression "go for the burn"? What are they talking about? Well, that "burn" is a sensation you get from something called lactic acid building up in your muscles. It's that warm feeling in your legs when you're sprinting hard or in your arms when you are doing a bunch of chin-ups. back to top

What's lactic acid?
Lactic acid is a by-product that your body creates when you do high-intensity anaerobic exercise. Unlike cardiorespiratory exercise, which is fueled by fat and carbohydrates (sometimes called glucose), anaerobic exercise burns carbohydrates. That's OK. It just means that your muscles work differently when you do anaerobic exercise. Add a few minutes of stretching to your workout to help your body eliminate the lactic acid and reduce muscle soreness. back to top

Is lactic acid harmful?
Lactic acid is a natural part of your metabolic system. It may cause your muscles to "burn" and get tired quickly, but lactic acid isn't harmful or dangerous. In fact, the more anaerobic exercise you do, the better your body gets at clearing out the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles. That's why strength training seems to get easier as you get stronger. It's a sign that you're getting fit! back to top

Last Modified Date: 1/8/2001
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