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

author image Judy Kilpatrick
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.
Who Builds More Lactic Acid: a Sprinter or a Jogger?
Heavy breathing after sprinting is your body paying its oxygen debt. Photo Credit: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

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.

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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.

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