It’s been said that an intense burst of physical activity produces lactic acid, which causes muscle pain or cramping that is sometimes felt during a workout. But it’s important to remember that just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean one causes the other.
This video explores a common misconception about lactic acid and exercise. It took scientists decades to unravel the various steps of an important metabolic pathway, glycolysis. When researchers were studying it in the 1920s, they made an unfortunate assumption or two that led to the belief that the production of lactic acid during intense exercise causes acidosis in muscles. But it seems that was incorrect.
Related: Rethinking Lactate
Learn more about how lactate may actually be helping reduce acidosis in muscles after a workout.