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From Healthy Living.com
How to Get Rid of Excess Lactic Acid in Muscles
by John Casteele
During exercise and other strenuous activity, lactic acid is produced as a byproduct of the process that the body uses to create energy. Long thought to be detrimental, lactic acid is now understood to be a temporary energy source that the body uses when there isn't enough oxygen in the blood for standard energy production. Lactic acid does create an acidic environment in the muscles when it builds up, however, and the body can take up to an hour or longer to remove it naturally. It's possible to speed the removal process with gentle exercise.
Exercise or perform other strenuous activity until you feel that you can no longer keep going and your muscles become tired. The body will burn some lactic acid to produce energy during this period, typically sustaining itself for several minutes before it can no longer produce enough energy to maintain the current needs of the muscles. Your body will produce lactic acid during this exercise, but as you continue to push yourself to this point, each time you exercise your body will begin to adapt to the stress of your activities as well. Over time, this will result in a more efficient use of oxygen during exercise, a faster lactic acid burn rate and a greater overall tolerance to lactic acid buildup.
Cool down through exercise instead of simply stopping once you reach the point that you're too tired to continue your previous activity. Use light, continuous exercises such as walking for five to 10 minutes to allow your body temperature, breathing and heart rate to return to normal. The continued contractions of your muscles during the cooldown period will regulate blood circulation as well, preventing blood from pooling in the muscles and allowing fresh blood to flush out lactic acid and muscle-waste products.
Perform static stretching exercises for five to 10 minutes after you've completed your primary cooldown exercises, holding each stretch for at least 10 seconds. This will continue working your muscles to flush out additional lactic acid and may also improve your overall flexibility while reducing your likelihood of suffering a sports-related injury.
Drink water and eat easy-to-digest foods that are high in nutrients such as fruits or protein bars once you've completed your cooldown exercises and stretching. This helps to ensure that you're not dehydrated, providing your body with the fluids it needs to continue flushing lactic acid from your muscles. The nutrition and protein that you take in will also help with the healing and recovery of your muscles after exercise.
Since we all finish workouts at different times and can't always do this as a group, make sure to take some time to continue moving around, do some stretching, drink plenty of water, and have some sort of post workout recovery meal or drink.