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Muscle Burn – Is it Good or Bad?

Overview

You have finally taken your first step towards fulfilling one of your new year resolutions of getting fit and starting exercise. Each day is a different exercise routine – sometimes it is lifting weight, and on other days it is cycling for many kilometers. But when you exercise, you experience a burning sensation that gradually comes to a stop when you stop exercising. Ever wondered what it is and if it is good for your health?

The blog gives you a detailed explanation of muscle burn, its benefits, and when to seek medical advice immediately.

What is a muscle burn?

Now that you started exercising, you also started feeling the burning sensation in your muscles. It is called a muscle burn. Simply put, it is a positive indicator that your body is being challenged and correctly responding to exertion. It is common to experience muscle burn during strenuous exercise routines such as weight lifting or cycling, and there is no cause for concern. However, it may create discomfort.

What causes muscle burn?

Contrary to what many people believe, lactic acid is not the culprit in post-workout muscle soreness. Lactic acid is what is produced during the workout itself when you feel that burning sensation in your muscles. When your body is working at its greatest capacity, your muscles are not able to get enough oxygen to convert food to energy, causing lactic acid to be produced and built up in the muscle, leading to that burning feeling. However, tests done on the lactic acid content in muscles immediately after exercise has ceased shows that the lactic acid is quickly cleared from the system, so this is not what causes the soreness after your workout.

Instead, post-workout soreness is due to many small micro-tears in the muscle itself. This is a natural process that the body undergoes in order to build more muscle. The technical term for this muscle tenderness is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). For the two or three days it takes for your body to repair the muscle (and in the process build more muscle), you are likely to feel sore and less able to work out to your greatest capacity. This is why endurance athletes often design a workout routine where they have one vigorous workout interspersed with a couple of days of rest or light workouts. This gives their muscles adequate time to heal and build.

Is muscle burn good for you?

It’s time to address the big question, ‘is muscle burn good for you?’ And the answer may disappoint most. It is neither good nor bad for you.

If you restart your exercise regime after a long break, you will most likely experience muscle burn. However, the sooner your body adjusts to the stimulus, the lesser you experience muscle burn. And with continuous workouts, your body threshold to minimize the acidic environment around the muscle also decreases.

When to seek medical advice?

As mentioned above, muscle burn is a normal reaction to exercise. But certain medical conditions may also cause a burning sensation in the body and may need immediate medical attention.

It would be best if you did not ignore chronic exertional compartment syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, the syndrome affects the muscles and nerves due to exercise. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome symptoms include pain, swelling, aching, burning or cramping in a particular limb, usually the lower limb. These symptoms continue to occur or worsen over time during physical activity, and it is a sign that you need to talk to your healthcare provider immediately to determine any underlying health condition.

Also, if you experience muscle burn with minimum exertion, it may indicate injury to the muscle or the surrounding area. The American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons reveals that the common tissue injuries during exercise may include sprains, strains, and bruises. If you are certain that your muscle burn is due to a soft-tissue injury, you should stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor at the earliest.

What are the ways to stop muscle burn?

One of the best ways to stop muscle burn is to stop the workout. There are other ways to minimize muscle burn are as follows:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: it is crucial to stay hydrated to lessen the lactic build-up and muscle burn.
  • Take deep breaths: The increased oxygen intake also decreases lactic acid build-up in the muscle.
  • Decrease the intensity of the workout as soon as you feel the burn
  • Instead of immediately putting a stop to your workout, it is vital to complete stretches to alleviate muscle burn
  • Exercise regularly and consistently
  • Stay active

Conclusion

We know that exercising makes you fit and healthy. It also makes you increase your lactate threshold. A muscle burn is a positive indicator that your body is being challenged and correctly responding to exertion. However, when the muscle burn doesn’t subside after 30 minutes of stopping exercise, it may be a cause of concern and may need immediate medical attention.

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