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When Heartburn Breaks a Sweat

When Heartburn Breaks a SweatFor many people with GERD who struggle with perpetual heartburn and acid reflux in Albany, food is the leading cause of pain, but that is not always the case. For some people, heartburn and acid reflux are the painful consequences of a healthy workout.
There are some workouts that are more heartburn-inducing than others. High intensity, vigorous activities like running or any workout that involves jumping are known to be harsher on the body, and so are more likely to cause heartburn. Unfortunately, these activities are generally a favorite of fitness aficionados as they are also more likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of calories burned per hour.

The Diet and Exercise Connection

While heartburn and acid reflux may be developing directly following your exercise routine, there is a chance that your diet is still playing a key role in their development. What you eat an hour or more before you work out could be coming back to haunt you as you attempt to burn a few calories at the gym.
When you eat too much, or you eat foods that are known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, you automatically make yourself more susceptible to heartburn and acid reflux. When you combine this with the jostling and quick movement of running you are bound to experience stomach acid splashing into the esophagus.
This could also happen during mild to moderate workouts that involve slow movements that twist your core, like yoga or Pilates. A basic pose like downward dog might make you feel great under the right circumstances, but if your LES is relaxed it is just inviting digestive juices to pour out of your stomach and begin aggravating your esophageal lining.
It is possible to enjoy a good workout without the interference of heartburn, but if you are struggling with GERD then it will likely take some preparation on your part.
Here are a few tips to overcome exercise induced heartburn:

  • Give yourself several hours between your last meal and your workout. A space of about three hours should allow food to digest and will encourage your LES to function properly during your exercise routine.
  • Stick with exercises that don’t aggravate your heartburn, like biking, walking and moderate weightlifting.
  • Talk to your GERD surgeon. Surgery for GERD can eliminate many of your problems with heartburn and help you boost your workout.

Do you have any other suggestions that have helped you overcome exercise-induced heartburn and acid reflux? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below.


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