If you participate in sports or enjoy working out, you’re probably familiar with that burning sensation in your muscles that leaves you sore for a couple of days afterward. The burning sensation is caused by lactic acid, a natural by-product of higher-than-normal energy use in the muscles that’s made up of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. And though lactic acid is actually a sign that your body is working hard and using energy, most athletes want to know how to reduce lactic acid. The following steps will teach you which precautions to take before, during, and after exercise to reduce lactic acid and enjoy your workouts more.
Warm up properly before your workout. This means doing aerobic exercise, such as jogging, cycling, or swimming. The goal of the warm up is to get the blood pumping to your muscles so they’re prepared for the harder work to come.
Stretch. Spend time stretching all your major muscle groups-your back, chest, abs, legs and arms. This lengthens the muscle fibers and helps prepare them for exercise.
Cool down properly. After you’ve finished the main section of your workout, reduce the intensity by increments to allow your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
Stretch after your workout. Take your time and really stretch each muscle group. Though your muscles will be tight at first, maintaining each stretch for at 30 seconds will improve circulation and reduce lactic acid buildup.
Increase the frequency of your exercise. The more often you exercise, the more your muscles will get used to lactic acid and the faster they’ll be able to circulate it out of your system.