So the cast iron gastric constitution you had as a young person has deserted you, and the diet that used to include anything and everything no longer works for you…even worse, you get the most horrible acid reflux after working out; but don’t despair! There are some things you can do to prevent the suffering and keep exercising for your good health!
If you aren’t sure if you actually have reflux, your first question might be “What does acid reflux feel like?” The pain in your chest is very similar to a heart attack, and that is why you must follow up with your doctor the first time you experience it; knowing the warning signs of a heart attack is a good first step, but not everyone has the same symptoms! See your doctor to get a diagnosis of acid reflux if you feel this may be happening. Your doctor can rule out heart disease, and prescribe any one of the effective medications now available. Once you are medically cleared for exercise, these ideas may prevent acid reflux after working out:
• Wait two hours after eating before you exercise: Just like Mom would make you wait a half hour before swimming after eating (so you wouldn’t get a cramp!), it is best not to eat within two hours of a vigorous workout. Giving your body time to digest the food and stomach acids after a meal prevents the ‘sloshing’ or the ‘too full’ feeling, that can lead to mild nausea, then the chest pain that is what acid reflux feels like.
• Eat wisely: When you do eat, there are things you should avoid: spicy, fatty or calorie rich foods; caffeinated drinks; juices that contain citric acid; chocolate or any rich desserts; in short, a high protein, lower carbohydrate meal will give you the energy to have a great workout!
• Drink water: Not only is water great for flushing fat from your system, it also helps neutralize the acids in your tummy. When I feel the burning of acids in my stomach at any time, I pour a glass of ice water and sip it often…the relief is immediate. Water also prevents dehydration caused from sweating.
• Take any medication your doctor prescribed: This one is important! Many medications to treat reflux are proton pump inhibitors; what that means is that you’ll have less acid in your stomach in the first place! Because these acids can be erosive to your esophagus, prevention is better than trying to heal the burns. In time, with the right medication, you could forget what acid reflux feels like.
If you find that you are still suffering, maybe a less active form of exercise is called for; acid reflux after working out might be avoided with a switch from hard, pounding aerobics to swimming, bicycling, speed walking or dancing. Just don’t stop working out! A stronger, healthier body is worth it, and so are YOU!