Workout Woes: How to Eliminate Exercise-Related Reflux
02. 19. 2016
Let’s face it. Exercise is hard enough on its own without throwing heartburn into the mix. Yet many people with chronic reflux or occasional episodes of heartburn find that exercising makes their symptoms worse. Physical activity stirs up food and digestive acid in the stomach, and if your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak or relaxed, the contents of your stomach can splash up into the esophagus.
Surprise heartburn episodes can really sap your motivation and ruin your workout, but you don’t have to let reflux get the last punch. Here are some ways to kick exercise-related heartburn to the curb so you can keep working towards your fitness goals:
Give food time to digest – The amount of food in your stomach affects the severity and duration of your reflux symptoms. Ideally, you should avoid eating two to three hours before exercising. However, if you need a little pre-workout fuel, limit yourself to a small, healthy snack.
Avoid trigger foods – Chocolate, peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, soda, and citrus are common culprits for heartburn. Eliminating these and any other personal trigger foods from your diet can reduce the occurrence of reflux.
Turn down the intensity – Cut back on activities that require a lot of bouncing, jumping or jolting as these may disturb the contents of your stomach and trigger heartburn. Choose low-impact activities like water aerobics, biking or walking. Yoga and Pilates are also excellent low-impact exercises, but be careful to avoid inverted poses which place your head below your heart.
Drink water – Pure and refreshing H2O will keep you hydrated during your workout and help wash down any stomach acid that has crept into your esophagus. Keep a water bottle handy at all times, and remember to drink before, during and after your workout.
Lose excess weight – If you’re exercising, chances are that weight loss is already one of your primary goals. But losing extra pounds won’t just help you fit back into your old jeans – it can improve your reflux symptoms. In addition to exercising regularly, be sure to maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the pounds melt away when your diet and exercise routine are on point.
Acid reflux is a force to be reckoned with, but so are you! Take steps to keep your workout heartburn-free, and watch your fitness routine reach new heights. Without heartburn there to drag you down, the sky is truly the limit!