Acid Reflux – Exercise Is The Name Of The Game
Losing weight and reducing stress are both important steps to managing and even eliminating acid reflux. And regular exercise is a great way to do both. But there’s a catch: some types of exercise can actually exacerbate the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Generally, the more intense the workout, and the more straining that is involved, the greater the chances of causing an onset of acid reflux.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure a productive workout without risking a flareup of acid reflux.
Because acid reflux occurs when acid flows backward, or refluxes, from the stomach and into the esophagus, you should select exercises which keep you in an upright position, and do note involve bending forward.
Acid reflux seems to be most related to weightlifting exercises, which puts added pressure on the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach which is responsible for keeping stomach acid in its place. Avoid weightlifting in favor of other types of strength-training exercises that address other areas of the body.
Other exercises which can also have a higher risk of causing acid reflux include high-impact aerobic activities, such as jogging. The jolting, up and down, potion of jogging can cause stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. As an alternative, try low-impact exercises, like walking, swimming, dancing and bicycling. Spinning, while based on cycling, forces a bent-over position, which can also cause acid to flow backward, up the esophagus. If you’re looking to cycle in a gym, choose a regular exercise bike or a recumbent bike. Likewise, if you’re bicycling outdoors, choose a cruising or mountain bike over a racing style, which forces you to lean forward toward the handlebars.
Sit-ups and crunches, which put additional stress on the abdomen and stomach, can also be problematic, as well as headstands and sit-ups performed on an incline.
Pilates involves many exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles, while minimizing impact, and is an ideal choice to avoid the occurrence of acid reflux.
Yoga can also be an ideal choice for getting fit and for reducing stress, one of the primary factors associated with acid reflux. Be sure to avoid positions that strain the abdominal muscles, or that cause you to lean forward, as these positions may cause acid reflux. The Corpse pose is an excellent example of a pose which is ideal for acid reflux sufferers. Yoga is also hugely beneficial for the relaxed breathing technique it incorporates. This breathing technique, which is highly focused, helps reduce stress and relax both the mind and the body.
In addition to the type of exercise routine you undertake, it’s important to take specific steps both before and during your exercise routine, to decrease the risk of a flareup of acid reflux.
Before exercising, avoid eating fatty foods, as well as other foods known to cause acid reflux, such as fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeinated and carbonated beverages. Consume only small amounts of food to avoid reflux during exercise. Limit protein intake in any meal consumed within two hours of a workout, as protein requires additional acid for proper and complete digestion. Also, be sure to stay hydrated during your workout. Hydration aids in digestion, helping to keep the stomach and esophagus cleared of acids. Sports drinks are full of carbohydrates which require digestion in the stomach, and may actually promote acid reflux. If you must have a sport drink, try diluting it by one-half to reduce the risk of acid reflux, and to help the beverage clear the stomach more quickly.
Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing that does not bind or constrict the stomach area during your exercise routine.
Most importantly, being your exercise routine slowly and work up as your endurance increases. One of the benefits of regular exercise is a reduction of stress. Piling on more exercises than you can safely and comfortably handle can cause more stress, not less, and may actually result in a greater risk of acid reflux.