What’s the Connection Between Exercise and Acid Reflux?

Published February 4, 2019 by

If you frequently suffer from acid reflux, you already know all about the uncomfortable pains and burning in your chest that come with this common condition. These symptoms normally occur when you consume something you know will bring them on, yet you proceed to scarf down that delicious food, deciding you will deal with the consequences later.

woman experiencing acid reflux while running

As it turns out, there may be other triggers besides food that make acid reflux worse – or help to relieve its symptoms. One such activity is exercise.  So what’s the connection between exercise and acid reflux?

To Exercise or Not to Exercise

The simple answer is that certain types of exercise can help to mitigate the symptoms of acid reflux, and other kinds will make them worse.

Usually if the workout includes stomach crunches, abdominal presses, or high impact exercise, this will make acid reflux worse.  Anything that causes you to lift heavy things, bend a certain way, or hold positions can actually be a reflux trigger. Avoid running and sprinting, cycling, gymnastics, or weight lifting.

More moderate and low impact exercise can be quite beneficial for acid reflux sufferers. Activities like walking, very light jogging, yoga, riding a stationary bike, or swimming are all good choices. Mainly this can help you shed some pounds which will alleviate symptoms associated with both GERD and acid reflux.

Reducing Acid Reflux as You Exercise

Losing weight should be the goal of anyone who is overweight and frequently experiences heartburn and/or acid reflux. Exercise can be the tool to get you to your goal. Never stop exercising just because it seems to trigger acid reflux. Find other types of exercise, or discover what you might be doing to exacerbate the symptoms.

The following tips may help to relieve heartburn during exercise:

  • Don’t exercise within two hours of eating
  • Avoid your normal reflux food triggers
  • Eat a healthy meal before exercising
  • Drink water while you exercise to stay hydrated and help with digestion
  • Take your OTC medications like Zantac, Pepcid, or Tagamet before exercising

If you are aware of your food triggers, modify your workout routine, and take OTC medications to reduce acid, but you continue to have problems with acid reflux, it may be time to see Carlos A. Barba, MD for help.

Keep notes of how different types of workout routines affected your acid reflux. Record what you ate before exercising, and what medications you took. You may be able to see a pattern, and relay this information to your doctor in order to find a more suitable treatment option.

Consistent physical activity is key to staying fit and reducing symptoms of acid reflux. Contact Carlos A. Barba, MD at (956) 621-4981 for help with the symptoms of acid reflux. and ask about a treatment plan.

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