Preventing heartburn can seem like a Catch-22. Excess weight can aggravate heartburn symptoms, so you exercise to lose weight. But exercising can also make heartburn worse. Sometimes, it feels like you just can’t win!
You might feel like giving up, but don’t. Studies show that losing just five to ten percent of your excess weight can significantly reduce acid reflux (GERD) and heartburn. Gaining weight, on the other hand, can increase heartburn symptoms by as much as 300 percent. So it’s worth it to find an exercise plan that works for you and won’t exacerbate your heartburn.
Ladies, it’s time to focus on your physical, mental and emotional fitness. As we age, exercise becomes more important than ever. You may have noticed that you have lost muscle tone or that you are carrying more weight around your middle. This added weight can put pressure on the valve between your esophagus and stomach and cause reflux.
It is essential to incorporate physical activity into your schedule, but be patient as you determine which activities don’t cause reflux. Here are five tips for heartburn-safe exercise:
- Treat acid reflux before it starts. If you tend to experience heartburn every time you exercise, take an antacid before working out.
- Pre-hydrate. If you get dehydrated during exercise and drink large gulps of water, it could trigger acid reflux. Drink moderate amounts of water throughout the day and only take tiny sips during your workout.
- Choose low-impact activities. Start with simple, fluid activities like walking, cycling or using the elliptical machine. Avoid activities that jostle the stomach like running, tennis or interval training.
- Avoid inverted positions. Yoga can seem like a gentle activity, but stretches like downward-facing dog or swan dive can cause reflux. Opt for upright yoga poses.
- Avoid eating one to two hours before your workout. If your stomach is empty, you will be less likely to experience reflux.
If you are just beginning to add exercise into your daily routine, talk to your doctor. It is always a good idea to ensure your workout plan is appropriate for your fitness level.