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Improve Recovery From Strenuous Exercise

Improve Recovery From Strenuous Exercise

By Andrea Bartels CNP NNCP RNT
Registered Nutritional Therapist

03 Aug 2023

Improve Recovery From Strenuous Exercise

Imagine this: it’s a warm summer day, and you’ve decided to take advantage of it and go for a rare long bike ride. With a water bottle in your hand and helmet on your head, you head out into the glorious sunshine and get pedaling. You’re enjoying yourself, but as you’re climbing a steep hill you start to notice muscle aching and burning. Your breathing is more rapid, and you have a stomach pain or nausea that makes you wonder about those leftovers you ate for breakfast.  What’s going on? 

Actually, this is what lactic acid build-up can feel like.

If you’re in really good physical condition, you may not experience these symptoms. That’s because you’ve trained your muscles to utilize oxygen more efficiently during aerobic metabolism.  You see, when a trained body burns glucose during exercise, its main waste product--carbon dioxide—is simply exhaled. Lactic acid formation in this case is quite minimal. 

By comparison, an untrained body can’t metabolize glucose or utilize oxygen very efficiently during exercise. So it temporarily switches to anaerobic metabolism-- where oxygen isn’t used. But in anaerobic metabolism there’s an incomplete combustion of fuel (that’s glucose)—and this creates lactic acid. This lactic acid behaves like glue in your muscles, making them feel stiff, sore and tired. 

Excess lactic acid can really interfere with your ability to enjoy exercise. It can promote inflammation and delay healing. Plus, a longer recovery time means a delay in resuming activities you enjoy doing.

So if you’re looking for a speedier recovery, consider these tips:  

First, stay hydrated, before, during and after exercise. Remember, you’re better off without caffeine-containing energy drinks and tablets. Believe it or not, dehydration can even happen to swimmers! Being in contact with water, we seem to lose our perception of thirst more easily than during other sports where we feel ourselves sweating.  In any case, perspiration contributes to dehydration during exercise, and this water loss reduces blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles. It’s also important to know that lactic acid build up is made worse by insufficient water intake. So together, these conditions are a recipe for heatstroke in the summer months.

Second, you can make your bike ride, swim or run more of a habit. Your muscles will become better more efficient at utilizing oxygen with frequent practice, and you’ll have less severe symptoms of lactic acid build-up.  

It’s also important to keep moving---even when you’re tempted to flop onto a sofa or the lawn after your workout. Think of the Tour de France cyclists, who continue to keep their legs moving after each leg of the race. “Warming down” --also known as cooling down-- maintains good blood flow to the muscles, and prevents lactic acid from getting sticky like honey and “gluing up” the muscles. This is important because this “gluing up” is what limits movement and causes pain.

The acid part of lactic acid needs to be neutralized to become water-soluble so it doesn’t deposit in the tissues. That’s why using an alkaline mineral supplement is useful.

Pure Lab’s Alkapure pH is formulated to balance pH by helping neutralize excess acids like lactic acid.  It consists of alkaline minerals in forms that the body uses to buffer acids, like sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate and phosphate.

Notice that these are also electrolytes—used for nerve and muscle function and fluid balance in the body. Electrolytes are lost when we sweat, and need to be replenished to prevent deficiency symptoms from happening.

Sodium bicarbonate is an electrolyte that has been demonstrated to benefit athletes in speed and strength endurance sports. And sodium helps retain water, lowering risk of dehydration.

Phosphate is one of the components of ATP—the energy produced by our cells.

Potassium and magnesium are important contributors to proper muscle function—and that’s vital for a positive exercise experience.  In fact, magnesium has been shown to reduce lactic acid produced during intense exercise.

The minerals in Alkapure pH not only help “unglue” lactic acid from the muscles by aiding in its conversion to lactate so it can be excreted by the kidneys. They can help minimize the deposition of lactic acid in the muscles in the first place. 

Some powdered formulations of alkaline salts contain citric acid to improve solubility.  But citric acid adds to the body’s acid load, sabotaging the goal of pH balance. Pure Lab’s Alkapure pH is obviously acid-free.  Since it’s in a convenient travel-friendly capsule form, Alkapure pH is also free of colours, flavours and sugar. No messy powder or stirring is required.   

If you’re heading out for some serious exercise, you can take 3 capsules of Alkapure pH on an empty stomach beforehand, and again after exercise.

But Alkapure pH is not just for exercisers.

Since many health conditions involve a shift in the body’s acid-alkaline balance, Alkapure pH can also be used to support the skin, the bones and the joints by way of creating a pH environment that’s conducive to tissue repair.  For this general purpose, as per label instructions, individuals can take 3 capsules at once, twice daily, on an empty stomach. Alkapure pH can actually be taken daily on an ongoing basis.

Finally, Alkapure pH can also be used as an effective antacid to manage GERD.  In this case, you can take a dose when heartburn is present, and again about 20 minutes later, if necessary.  

So to sum up: keep hydrated, keep moving, warm down, and consider the benefits that Alkapure pH can provide to your exercise experience and recovery.

 

References

Bumgardner, Wendy. “Anaerobic Metabolism vs. Aerobic Metabolism: How the Body Produces and Burns Energy for Exercise.” Verywell Fit. Updated on June 02, 2022.

Chen HY, Cheng FC, Pan HC, Hsu JC, Wang MF. Magnesium enhances exercise performance via increasing glucose availability in the blood, muscle, and brain during exercise. PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e85486. Published 2014 Jan 20. 

Chycki J, Kurylas A, Maszczyk A, Golas A, Zajac A. Alkaline water improves exercise-induced metabolic acidosis and enhances anaerobic exercise performance in combat sport athletes. PLoS One. 2018;13(11):e0205708. Published 2018 Nov 19.

Gardner, Amanda. “Lactic Acidosis and Exercise: What You Need to Know”. Jumpstart by WebMD, January 17, 2022.

Hamouti N, Fernández-Elías VE, Ortega JF, Mora-Rodriguez R. Ingestion of sodium plus water improves cardiovascular function and performance during dehydrating cycling in the heat. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014;24(3):507-518.

Hew TD, Chorley JN, Cianca JC, Divine JG. The incidence, risk factors, and clinical manifestations of hyponatremia in marathon runners. Clin J Sport Med. 2003;13(1):41-47. 

McNaughton LR, Siegler J, Midgley A. Ergogenic effects of sodium bicarbonateCurr Sports Med Rep 2008;7 (4):230:6.

Niedziocha, Laura. “Decrease in pH of Blood Caused by Exercise.” Healthfully December 5, 2018. Accessed online July 24th, 2023.

Rush, Tom and Barrell, Amanda.  Medical News Today. “the role of lactic acid in the body”.  Updated on May 23, 2023.

Shirreffs SM, Sawka MN. Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S39-S46. 

Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; April 23, 2023.

 

 

 


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