Does heartburn strike when you exercise? Here’s how to prepare so you don’t suffer at the gym.
When you’re working out, feeling the burn is usually a good thing — unless it’s in your chest. Unfortunately, exercise can sometimes bring on or worsen a case of heartburn. That’s because certain moves may increase the pressure in your stomach, pushing acid upwards. But that doesn’t mean you have to swear off the gym if you have reflux. With a few smart precautions, you can make sure the only things churning during that cycling class are your legs.
Switch up your workout. When it comes to your digestive system, not all workouts are created equal. High-impact exercise, like running and jumping, triggers heartburn more than gentle forms like swimming. Moves that involve lying on a hard surface on your stomach, like paddling a surfboard, also may contribute to heartburn. Try going for a bike ride instead of a jog, or swap your usual HIIT class for a yoga session.
Time it right. Hitting the gym right after a meal can be a recipe for heartburn. Wait at least two hours before working out.
Lay off the protein and fat. If you’re planning on working out at the end of the day, don’t order a steak burrito bowl for lunch. Foods high in fat and fried food can bring on the burn as they can cause the sphincter (the muscle keeping the acid in the stomach) to relax at the wrong time.. Also avoid any foods that trigger your heartburn. Common culprits include citrus fruits, tomatoes, garlic, onions, chocolate, peppermint, and carbonated beverages.
Drink up. Fill a water bottle and sip before and during your workout. Water keeps your digestive tract running smoothly. Think twice before reaching for a high-carb sports drink, though — one small study of athletes showed that they can lead to longer-lasting acid reflux symptoms than plain water.
Treat your frequent heartburn. If you have heartburn two or more days a week, then using the right over-the-counter medications can stop symptoms before they even start. Proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium 24HR, block the production of stomach acid, so you can work out worry-free.
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