Acid Reflux and Exercise

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People who have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) often have a burning sensation, or heartburn, in their chest as a result of acid reflux. Acid reflux happens when the stomach acid splashes upwards into the esophagus. This occurs when the lower sphincter muscles relaxes and opens, and if the sphincter muscles are damaged or weak acid reflux may become a common occurrence. Exercise can both be a help and a hindrance to people suffering from this often chronic condition.

How Exercise Can Help

Low-impact exercise can help stabilize acid reflux, especially in people who are overweight. Sedentary individuals are often overweight or obese due to their lack of physical activity. When people are overweight, the excess weight puts pressure on the abdomen, forcing stomach acids back up into the esophagus. Trying to fit into clothing that is too tight especially around the abdomen contributes to symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Losing weight by participating in a moderate, low-impact exercise program, such as walking in an Albany park or climbing stairs at work, can help to control your acid reflux. In addition to adding low-impact exercise to your lifestyle make sure to avoid fatty, fried and spicy foods especially before exercising and going to bed.

How Exercise Can Be a Hindrance

Some Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) sufferers are inflicted by exercise-induced heartburn. Exercise that tends to increase acid reflux attacks include high-impact or very strenuous physical activities. For instance, running, jogging, and weight lifting trigger acid reflux attacks in some individuals. Any exercise that revolves around a lot of jiggling or bouncing increases your risk of acid refluxing back up into your esophagus. Additionally, exercises that defy gravity or impact the natural digestion path, like sit-ups, abdominal crunches, and headstands can aggravate acid reflux symptoms. Further, exercising right after eating is asking for heartburn trouble; instead wait at least two hours after eating before exercising.

 

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