Regular Moderate Exercise can cut the Risk of Acid Reflux

For people with chronic heartburn, too much running and jumping can induce acid reflux. However, the right type of exercise may actually improve the condition.

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Short bouts of fairly moderate exercise at least a couple of times a week can cut the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, in part because it reduces body mass index.

The New York Times reports:

“The specific exercise is crucial. Scientists found that aerobic exercises with the highest ‘agitation of the body,’ like vigorous running, consistently induced acid reflux, even in people who did not have chronic heartburn …

Another factor is body position. Bench presses, leg curls or any other exercise that involves lying flat sharply raise the risk of acid reflux.”

What Types of Activities Make Heartburn Worse?
As you might suspect, vigorous jumping, bouncing, running and other activities that cause agitation of your body can make heartburn worse, simply because it makes it easier for your stomach acid to move into your esophagus. For this reason, vigorous aerobics and other agitating exercise routines may exacerbate your symptoms, especially if you eat within two hours of your workout.

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That said, heartburn also tends to flare up during other routine activities as well, such as:

•After eating a heavy meal
•Bending over
•Lifting
•Lying down, especially when laying on your back
If you know you have GERD, or even if you suffer from heartburn only occasionally, it makes sense to limit these activities, especially shortly after eating, or at least tailor them so they’re less likely to cause a problem.

For instance, by eating smaller portions at your meals it can help you to avoid overeating, which is a major trigger for heartburn. Likewise, if you wait two or three hours after dinner before lying down in bed, it will also give you some relief.

When you do lie down, elevating the head of your bed may make you more comfortable, as can squatting down when you need to pick something up (instead of bending over).

And just as you can modify these common activities so they don’t make your heartburn worse, you can modify your exercise program to follow suit as well.


But at the same time Exercise is Essential, Even if You Have Heartburn

One of my top recommendations for treating heartburn and GERD is to implement an exercise program.

Physical activity is an important way to improve your body’s immune system, which is imperative to fight off all kinds of infections. What does this have to do with GERD?

Source: New York Times July 26, 2010

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