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Exercising and GERD

exercising and gerd

Exercising is one of the best ways to get in shape and improve your overall health. In fact, physicians recommend regular physical activity to the majority of their patients, even if they suffer with multiple medical problems. However, certain medical conditions, including gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), may be aggravated by exercise.

Acid Reflux and Exercise

Although exercise is beneficial to your health in many different ways, it can worsen GERD for some people. Studies have shown that exercise can increase the frequency of acid reflux symptoms. This effect is magnified when exercise sessions are particularly long or intense. GERD patients may also experience more heartburn if the exercises performed are jarring or result in abdominal contraction.

Tips for GERD Patients

In spite of the problems it may cause, exercise can still be beneficial to GERD patients. In fact, people who exercise in moderation may even notice a decrease in their symptoms over time. GERD sufferers can get the most benefit from exercise by following these tips:

  • Avoid workouts that trigger symptoms. Certain types of workouts, such as weight lifting or bicycling, may exacerbate symptoms more than others. Avoid these exercises as much as possible.
  • Take medication. Certain over-the-counter medications may reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, thus allowing you to work out without worrying about aggravating your condition.
  • Identify food triggers. Eating certain foods before your workout may worsen your symptoms. Pay attention to the foods you eat before you exercise. If you notice that one seems to be particularly offensive, try to avoid it in the future.
  • Try exercising on an empty stomach. For some people, exercising on an empty stomach may reduce the symptoms of reflux.
  • Experiment with different foods before working out. If working out on an empty stomach is problematic, try to eat a small, bland meal before you exercise.
  • Take baking soda. Try adding baking soda to water and drinking it shortly before you work out. For some patients, this home remedy can provide relief.

If acid reflux preventing you from getting enough exercise, visit a doctor who specializes in treating GERD. Medications or GERD surgery may be what is required so that you can receive the benefits of exercise without the discomfort of heartburn or other GERD symptoms.


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