What Is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid has been cited on a number of occasions as a big reason behind the pain athletes suffer during their sport, so exactly how does it work?

There is every chance that if you have taken part in exercise sessions or sports clubs with an instructor or coach then you will have heard about lactic acid. It is usually mentioned at that moment when the pain starts to really kick in but what is the reason behind this?

Lactic acid in exercise and sporting activity

It has been said many times that when athletes begin to experience a considerable amount of discomfort after exerting themselves consistently during their sport that the primary cause of it is the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. Experts have however said that though lactic acid is to be accepted during intense exercise the reason for the pain in this situation is actually the fact that the nerves are reacting to the level of work being taken on by your muscles.

The scientific explanation states that carbohydrates are used by the muscles in order to make the required energy needed for the exercise. After this stage has occurred the lactic acid goes into the hydrogen ions and it is these that are the reason for the discomfort. Athletes are of course at the pinnacle of such exercise activities and it is believed that they are subjected to the high production of lactic acid when their heart rate is between 80 and 90 per cent.

Lactic Acid

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How to deal with it

It is a by-product that cannot be eliminated but lactic acid can be dealt with to an extent and even used as something of a positive, believe it or not. It requires an intense amount and standard of training to achieve but your body can learn how to utilise it so that it becomes a source of energy, the level of which can be likened in some ways to the blood’s sugar and the carbohydrates that are present in muscle tissue. Another top tip with regard to coping with the effects is to gradually ease off towards the end of the activity. You should try to keep the movement going with your muscles rather than coming to a total and sudden stop.


You can also find lactic acid present in a number of different foods because it comes together due to the process of fermentation. Foods you can expect to find it in on occasions include dairy products, fruit juices, pickled vegetables, sweets and also certain meats as a way to improve the flavour amongst other reasons.

Article written by Anthony Di Giacomo representing www.irishfit.eu who are a high-quality provider of triathlon wear, cycling accessories and a huge array of exercise wear and other products.

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