6 Tips to Reduce Exercise-Induced Heartburn

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If you experience heartburn during exercise you’re not alone. If the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle is too weak or relaxed, it can trigger Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms like heartburn when you exercise. Certain foods and beverages, such as tomatoes, orange juice, coffee, chocolate, carbonated sodas, and alcohol can trigger exercise-induced heartburn.

The good news is you don’t have to stop exercising to avoid the burn — heartburn that is. Here are 6 tips to keep you moving without the acid reflux:

  1. Figure out your triggers. You may need to conduct a few trial and error experiments to find out which foods are causing your exercise-induced heartburn. Start with avoiding spicy and citrus foods to see if they are the culprit.
  2. Eat a few hours before your workout. Having an empty or only slightly full stomach before exercise may help you to avoid Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms.
  3. Eat something soothing before exercise. Certain foods may actually help to coat your stomach and prevent heartburn. Try foods such as yogurt before you exercise to see if it keeps your heartburn at bay, but make sure you give yourself a bit of time between these pre-workout snacks and the actual workout.
  4. Use baking soda. When added to water, baking soda can neutralize acids. Be careful with this though! Baking soda contains salt, so before trying this tactic it’s smart to speak with your Albany physician before using it.
  5. Adjust your workout. Some exercise may be more likely to trigger heartburn than others. For example, stomach crunches may be one of your triggers (especially on a full stomach) while aerobics might not affect you so much. Try out different techniques and experiment to find which exercise leaves you acid-reflux free.
  6. Try over-the-counter medications. Antacids with calcium can neutralize stomach acid. Chewing a calcium-based antacid tablet as a preventive method before exercise may do the trick.

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