Who Builds More Lactic Acid: a Sprinter or a Jogger?

Sprinters build more lactic acid than joggers. Lactic acid is a by-product of the energy-producing processes which predominate in high intensity exercise, including sprints. At intensities below 50% of one's maximum oxygen consumption, lactic acid buildup is reduced.

Aerobic Jogging and Anaerobic Sprinting

Lactic acid is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism, a biochemical process which uses limited energy sources for moderate to high intensity exercise. Jogging, especially at a slow pace and for long distances, is primarily aerobic, and utilizes a greater array of energy sources. Some lactic acid can build up during a long jog, but the level of lactic acid is generally less than the lactic-acid buildup during sprinting. An anaerobic activity, sprinting is performed at high intensity for a short burst of energy expenditure, utilizing primarily sources whose energy production results in lactic acid as a by-product. Lactic acid levels cause increased respiration, such as during and immediately after a sprint -- the carbon dioxide exhaled is a by-product of the body's neutralization of the increased acidity. Anaerobic conditioning can raise one's lactic acid threshold and/or the rate of lactic acid removal - the removal process occurs during and after the workout.

About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.