If you’ve ever experienced exercised-induced heartburn, “feel the burn” takes on a whole new meaning thanks to an awful low simmering burn of acid reflux in your chest and throat. Sure, you understand a little heartburn after a big, spicy meal, but during a workout? That just doesn’t seem fair.
While some people are more susceptible than others, and not everyone will experience heartburn during exercise, it can rear it’s ugly head at the most unexpected times (and there’s never a good time!), so here’s what you need to know about this pesky side-effect to your regular workout.
Related: 4 ways to prevent heartburn
Dr. Jason Machowsky is a board certified sports dietitian as well as a registered clinical exercise physiologist who has worked with athletes and novice clients alike who have dealt with exercise-related heartburn. Machowsky says that the physiological mechanisms that occur are similar to the classic definitions of GERD and acid reflux, but the catalysts have changed from burrito to burpee. Pressure keeps the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve located between the stomach and the esophagus, closed, making sure stomach acid stays where it should, but movement, jostling, some foods and certain body positions can reduce the pressure of the valve, causing some stomach acid to creep into the throat.