Muscle Burn – Is It Good Or Bad?


You’ve finally taken your first step towards fulfilling one of your New Year’s resolutions: getting fit and starting to exercise. Every day is a different workout routine – sometimes lifting weights, other days cycling many miles. But when you exercise, you experience a burning sensation that gradually stops when you stop exercising. Have you ever wondered what it is and if it is good for your health?

The blog gives you a detailed explanation of muscle burning, its benefits and when you should seek immediate medical advice.

What is Muscle Burn?

Now that you have started exercising, you also started to feel the burning sensation in your muscles. It’s called a muscle burn. Simply put, it is a positive indicator that your body is being challenged and responding correctly to exercise. It’s common to experience muscle burn during strenuous exercise routines like lifting weights or cycling, and there’s no cause for concern. However, it can cause discomfort.

What Causes Muscle Burn?

Contrary to popular belief, lactic acid is not the culprit of muscle soreness after exercise. Lactic acid is produced during the workout itself when you feel that burning sensation in your muscles. When your body is working at its best, your muscles are unable to get enough oxygen to convert food into energy, causing lactic acid to be produced and built up in the muscle, leading to a burning sensation. However, tests done on the level of lactic acid in the muscles immediately after exercise has stopped show that the lactic acid is quickly cleared from the system, so this is not the cause of the soreness after your workout.

Instead, post-workout pain is due to many tiny micro-tears in the muscle itself. This is a natural process that the body undergoes to build more muscle. The technical term for this muscle tenderness is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). During the two or three days it takes your body to repair the muscle (building more muscle in the process), you will probably feel sore and be less able to exercise. This is why endurance athletes often design a training routine where they have a vigorous workout interspersed with a few days of rest or light workouts. This gives their muscles plenty of time to heal and build up.

Is Muscle Burning Good For You?

It’s time to answer the big question, “is muscle burning good for you?” And the answer can disappoint the most. It’s not good or bad for you.

If you resume your exercise regimen after a long break, you will most likely experience muscle burn. However, the faster your body adapts to the stimulus, the less you experience muscle burn. And with continuous workouts, your body’s threshold to minimize the acidic environment around the muscle also decreases.

When to seek medical advice?

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

It would be best if you don’t ignore chronic exertional compartment syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, the syndrome affects the muscles and nerves as a result of exercise. Symptoms of chronic exertional compartment syndrome include pain, swelling, soreness, 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’s a sign that you should talk to your healthcare provider immediately to diagnose an underlying health condition.

Also, if you experience muscle burning with minimal exertion, it may indicate injury to the muscle or surrounding area. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery reveals that the most common tissue injuries during exercise can be sprains, strains and contusions. If you are certain that your muscle burn is due to a soft tissue injury, you should stop exercising immediately and see your doctor as soon as possible.

What are the ways to stop muscle burning?

One of the best ways to stop muscle burning is to stop exercising. There are other ways to minimize muscle burn:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: It’s crucial to stay hydrated to reduce lactic acid buildup and muscle burn.
  • Take a deep breath: the increased oxygen intake also reduces the build-up of lactic acid in the muscle.
  • Reduce the intensity of the workout as soon as you feel the burning sensation
  • Rather than stopping your workout immediately, it’s vital to complete stretches to relieve muscle burn.
  • Exercise regularly and consistently
  • stay active


We know that exercising makes you fit and healthy. It also causes you to raise your lactate threshold. A muscle burn is a positive indicator that your body is being challenged and responding correctly to exercise. However, if the muscle burn does not subside after 30 minutes of stopping exercise, it may be a cause for concern and immediate medical attention may be required.

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