Q:

What happens when you overwork your muscles?

A:

Quick Answer

Scientists do not yet understand exactly what causes muscle soreness, but it likely results from the combination of stretched or torn muscle fibers, swelling and lactic acid accumulation. While lactic acid does play a part in the muscle pain and soreness that follows exercise, it is not the sole cause as was thought for decades. Soreness is not correlated with the degree of exercise performed or with gains in strength.

Continue Reading
What happens when you overwork your muscles?
Credit: Siri Stafford Digital Vision Getty Images

Full Answer

Lactic acid is a byproduct of lactic acid fermentation, and muscles use the process to power muscles when the animal cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscles. Lactic acid fermentation is an anaerobic process, and although it is not as efficient as oxidative metabolism, it can keep muscles functioning long after an organism suffers an oxygen debt.

Whenever muscles work hard, they incur very small tears. This is normal, and part of the body's growth strategy. When muscles tear, the body builds them back stronger than they originally were. This is how resistance training causes muscles to grow.

After exercise, many people experience swelling in the muscles that they used. Tests in the 1980s linked swelling with soreness, but only a few forms of exercise were tested in the study.

Learn more about Fitness & Exercise

Related Questions

  • Q:

    When does oxygen debt occur?

    A:

    Oxygen debt occurs when muscles are exerted beyond the ability of the body to supply oxygen to muscle fibers fast enough, according to BrianMac Sports Coach. Such exertion must be very strenuous before oxygen debt occurs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a good way to get rid of lactic acid that has built up in muscles?

    A:

    Eliza Martinez for AZCentral notes there are many ways to get rid of lactic acid that has built up in the muscles, including slowing an exercise session down before stopping it completely. This helps muscles remove the lactic acid and can allow a person to quickly treat something like leg pain from running by transitioning to walking or lightly jogging.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some symptoms of a lactic acid buildup?

    A:

    Symptoms of lactic acid buildup in the bloodstream, known as lactic acidosis, include a sensation of burning in the muscles, weakness, cramps and nausea, reports WebMD. Extreme lactic acidosis may also cause vomiting and coma, warns Drugs.com. Lactic acidosis produces the painful feeling during extreme workouts that warns against permanent damage, but it is not responsible for post workout soreness in the muscles, points out Scientific American.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How do you stretch before running?

    A:

    To stretch before running, make certain muscles are properly warmed up and stretch gradually. Breathe deeply, stretch both sides of the body, and resist any urge to bounce.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore