What Is Lactic Acid Buildup And How Do You Get Rid Of It?

If you've ever felt your muscles start to burn during a tough workout session, you may have experienced a buildup of lactic acid. But what exactly is lactic acid and how can it build up in your muscles? Believe it or not, lactic acid is produced in your muscle cells and red blood cells during a process known as glycolysis. According to Verywell Fit, glycolysis is a metabolic process that breaks down glucose into energy when oxygen levels in the body are low. This most often occurs during periods of strenuous exercise.

That's because your muscles need oxygen to function. During high-intensity exercise, however, your muscles require more oxygen than you can breathe in. Surpassing this lactate threshold can cause anaerobic respiration and a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles (via Verywell Fit). This buildup can cause muscle fatigue and may even lead to a temporary burning sensation in your muscles. It's important to note, however, that this burning sensation is not the same as muscle soreness.

How to get rid of lactic acid buildup

While lactic acid buildup isn't harmful or bad for you, it can cause some discomfort and unpleasantness. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent or get rid of it lactic acid buildup in your muscles. According to Insider, you can help reduce the effects of lactic acid during an intense workout session by taking frequent breaks. As it turns out, giving your body time to rest can help restore oxygen to your muscles and clear any lactic acid buildup.

"Once you stop exercising at such a high intensity, your body starts breaking down the lactic acid pretty quickly," Dr. Audrey Stone, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, told Insider. Another good way to get rid of lactic acid buildup is to reduce the intensity of your workout. Exercising at a lower level of intensity can help your body take in more oxygen and produce less lactic acid. Some helpful, low-intensity exercises include yoga, walking, and jogging.