Why Do You Get Heartburn While Running? How To Prevent It?

Running increases your incidents of heartburn. Did you know that? The jostling that running causes increases the acid reflux or the gastroesophageal reflux. This acid reflux can also cause chest pain, even acute chest pain. You might mistake it for something more serious and head to the emergency room but it might be something as simple and avoidable as a change in your eating habits. For most people who exercise and face some sort of heart pain with it, indigestion and acid reflux is usually the answer.

Indigestion usually occurs because you have either eaten a meal too close to your run or have eaten foods that are high in fat.

Sometimes you might get an acid burn without eating too close to your run.  Eating food high in fat can also increase the acids in your stomach. The high fat tends to take longer to get digested. Acids loosen the stomach and make it pass through the esophagus and rise up while running. The primary reason for the heartburn is when the lower esophageal sphincter is loose or relaxed, acid passes back up the esophagus much more easily.

There have also been studies where doctors have observed how even without excess food or wrong meal times runners could still have an acid reflux. The position of the body can make all the difference so even while bench pressing you could get heartburn. Some research also indicates that women tend to be more prone to heartburn as compared to men. Athletes, who run longer and harder tend to be more prone to heartburn. Long term effects of constant heartburn is damage to the mucosa or lining of the esophagus, constant cough, damage to the teeth due to acid entering the mouth and even sinusitis.

How To Prevent Heartburn While Running?

You can prevent heartburn by avoiding running or similar jostling activities for a while till most of the heartburn passes.

Try cycling or stationary bicycling or even weight lifting to avoid heartburn. You can also try eating at least 2 hours before going for a run. Some athletes have also pointed out that drinking sports drinks leads to an increase in heartburn. Losing excess weight can also reduce the incidence of acid splashing into the esophagus. Some diet tips include:

  • Eat food soothing to the stomach. Yoghurt, bananas, whole grain toast with nut butter – are some examples. It will be a trial run till you can identify what food suits you before a run.
  • Remove junk food from your diet. Some items like coffee, chocolate, citrus fruit and juice, broccoli, bell peppers, alcohol and even vinegar can really harm you. Add more fiber by including whole wheat by way of cereal, fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
  • Sometimes addition of probiotic products to your diet might help.
  • Baking soda or over-the-counter remedies for heartburn also help.

What you should remember is that all these cures are temporary and if your symptoms aren’t relieved in spite of these measures then the heartburn might signify something more serious. You should get a correct diagnosis from a doctor.

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