Working out isn’t as simple as jumping on the treadmill, running, and then stopping. There are so many different things to think about, it can become quite mind-bending.
One of the biggest issues is Lactic acid. This can really affect how well you are performing at the gym and it is essential to keep in check. If you are pushing your body to the limits then you are draining all a lot of oxygen from your muscles. It will get to the point where you are unable to refill your muscles quickly enough. This deficiency can then lead to a build-up of lactic acid. This acid is as aggressive as its name sounds, although not permanently damaging or overly dangerous; it is not great to have, as it will mean that the end of your activity is near, as your body cannot keep up anymore.
If you are a long-distance runner, a cyclist, or just working hard on some gym equipment, then you are going to be pushing certain muscles to the extreme. These muscles will be the ones that are begging for the oxygen and will cause the eventual deficiency. The key to delaying this onset is training. Working your muscles and respiratory system to the point where they become as efficient as possible, making sure that the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is as quick as possible.
A lot of athletes will feel the build-up of lactic acid after they have trained or competed, then stopped. This feeling of ‘seizing up’ is due to the onset of lactic acid leftover in the muscles, where there isn’t enough oxygen to flush it out. By completing a thorough warm-up after the exercise, you will slowly cool down and also allow your muscles to gain back some oxygen, whilst also keeping moving. This process will limit the lactic acid and keep the muscles feeling at their best.
The warm-up should be as comprehensive as possible. A good method is starting from the top and working down the body, holding each stretch for 8-10 seconds. Also making sure not to bounce on the muscle to avoid any other injury from pulled muscles.
Hydration, as with most exercising, is key. Making sure you are keeping hydrated throughout the workout is so important in keeping your muscles in full working order and holding off the lactic acid build-up as long as possible.
In conclusion, lactic acid is a by-product of intense exercise and cannot be completely avoided. But there are ways of managing it and controlling its effects. If you can manage to work out the way your body works, you will have a long and successful time training!