You go for a long run. You play basketball with your kids. You help someone move. Two days later, you find that that you are stiff and sore. Most people can relate to this scenario, but not everyone knows why. Traditionally, postexercise soreness has been attributed to increased levels of lactic acid in your muscles.
Lactic acid levels increase when the body needs to produce energy without oxygen, which typically happens during strenuous activity. Although lactic acid is harmless, a buildup of it has been attributed to achy muscles and cramps. If you learn how to get rid of lactic acid in your muscles, you can help your body return to full capacity sooner.
Since lactic acid is formed when the body does not have enough oxygen, one of the best ways to get rid of lactic acid in your muscles is by drawing oxygen into the muscles. Stretching helps promote deep breathing and increases the flow of oxygen to the body, leading to less lactic acid being produced. But what about when lactic acid is already in the body? Stretching also helps improve circulation, which helps lactic acid move out quicker. Taking a few minutes to stretch before and after exercise helps keep lactic acid from forming and from staying.
Lactic acid naturally circulates out of your body eventually. Taking time to rest between workouts, especially if you have been doing a more strenuous workout, can help give your body time to cycle out the old lactic acid without adding new. Rest also helps your muscles heal, which will mitigate some of the soreness associated with lactic acid.
Eat the Right Foods
There are certain foods that have been associated with helping reduce sore muscles and lactic acid. Eating foods that are rich in magnesium, vitamins B and C, and folate may decrease lactic acid in muscles, leading to less muscle fatigue. Lactic acid is also water soluble, meaning remaining hydrated should help keep lactic acid from building up in the muscles. Continue to drink water both during and after a workout to reduce muscle recovery time.
An often underappreciated way of removing lactic acid from the muscles is massage. Massage helps increase circulation, which is effective in removing lactic acid from the muscles more quickly and bringing in fresh, oxygen-rich blood. Massage is also an excellent way to help relieve muscle tension and pain that may have been caused by every part of the workout, lactic acid included. In fact, one study suggested that a massage directly after a workout could reduce delayed muscle soreness by 30 percent. Our Homedics products can offer massage relief to any part of the body where lactic acid may be lurking, to help you get back to 100 percent.