Gutted About Acid Reflux

How to mitigate acid reflux problems


Words Champa Ha

If you’re like me and have trouble doing high intensity exercise due to acid reflux, congratulations, join the club. We serve Galviscone by the mug.

My recent bout of it was two days ago. While at the ASICS Relay pre-event body combat class, I was in the middle of trying to coordinate a hand clap and frontal jog in the same direction as everyone, when I felt it. A dry cough that signalled my lungs were closing up, the stomach area that kept churning, and wanting to puke every single item I had consumed in the last six hours.

I spent the rest of the session in the first aid tent, with two mildly concerned first-aiders checking up on me, tossing bottles of water at me, and even breaking out the blood-pressure cuff, which was quite kind of them.

This was the worst bout I have ever had in years, and for the next two days, I kept suffering periods of pain after eating, where I just kept being miserable and buying a stock of stomach-soothing products. I kept a few plastic bags around my desk in case I felt sick, and it took me hours to feel better.

I am not the only one that suffers from acid reflux. Studies have shown that runners tend to suffer from heartburn, with some suggesting that up to 80 percent of marathon runners suffer from some type of gastroesophageal related problems such as heartburn.

This is sometimes dismissed as a rather light injury or an easily handled side-effect, but when you’re dry-heaving on the side of the road, running a marathon or a race will seem like a far away, unachievable idea, and having the effects follow you for the next few days will definitely hurt.

Here are some tips if you suffer from acid reflux problems:

  • Reduce overly sweetened drinks

An excess of sugar can hurt an already troubled stomach. This means having to do lots of research to make sure that isotonic drinks you buy off the rack have less sugar. If in doubt, stick to water.

  • Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn

If you’re inclined towards tomatoes, I have bad news for you: tomatoes are one source of food that can trigger your acid reflux. So do chocolate, fried food, high dairy products, high-fat meats, alcohol and caffeine. If you are planning to run hard, avoid these products before running.

  • Experiment to see which exercises can trigger your acid reflux

Some workouts can trigger your acid reflux more than usual. No two people are the same, so it works to figure out and tailor a schedule and workout that does well for you.

  • Avoid eating three hours before you workout

This can cause you to upend all the food you had before. Have a light meal beforehand, and if you need to consume something for an energy boost, try a banana, or a soft flavoured gel.

  • Write down everything you do and eat

If you are forgetful, it does well to write down what you eat every day and the type of workouts you do. That way, you will know what works best for you before the event begins.

  • Always keep an antacid around

It works best if you can find antacids in a gel/cream form, as that way when you’re working out, you don’t have to worry about choking on a pill.

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