How To Avoid Heartburn From Working Out The Right Way

Some types of exercise help relieve acid reflux symptoms while others make it worse. Something as gentle as going for a walk or a full on workout might trigger a bout of heartburn. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are simple things you can do to avoid heartburn from working out. And we’ll also share with you some of the best exercises for acid reflux.

What is heartburn?

avoid heartburn from working out

When you eat food, it goes down your esophagus (food tube) and mixes with acid in your stomach so digestion can occur. And if there is too much acid or gas in your stomach, that acid can reflux back up into your esophagus and cause a burning sensation in your throat or chest. That pain is heartburn. Click here if you’d like more detailed information about heartburn.

How does exercise help heartburn?

Exercise, when done right, can actually reduce heartburn, and there are a number for reasons for this:

  1. Exercise reduces inflammation – One of the major reasons heartburn sufferers have constant low-level inflammation of the stomach lining is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. One easy way to fight this bacteria and reduce the inflammation is by giving your immunity a boost. And exercise does just that!
  2. Exercise helps maintain healthy weight – Too much fat around the abdominal area acts like tight clothes, and this aggravates acid reflux and heartburn. Maintaining a healthy exercise regimen can help you cut down on this fat.

How to avoid heartburn from working out

Exercise can make heartburn worse if your stomach is digesting food or drinks. And at other times, exercise is actually good for you and can be fun. So, to avoid heartburn from working out, keep these things in mind:

  1. Avoid your food triggers and keep a gap of at least 2 hours between exercise time and meal times. Remember small frequent meals are better than 3 large meals every day.
  2. Avoid coffee and caffeinated or carbonated drinks before exercise.
  3. Don’t wear tight clothing and belts around your waist.
  4. Try out exercises that are less likely to cause reflux – avoid exercises that need you to bend over double and those where you need to lie down flat.
  5. Also avoid exercises were there are very jarring movements, because these cause further agitation in the stomach.
  6. Take your OTC medication before exercising.

When you follow these guidelines, you will hopefully get results that will make you feel better. And if you’re still experiencing heartburn, it’s probably time to see your doctor.

Keep records to avoid heartburn from working out

Try keeping a diary about how different types of workouts affect your heartburn. Also, record what you ate before exercising, and what medications you took and hopefully you might see a pattern. Consequently, you may see patterns forming and know that you need to avoid certain foods or activities. Also, you can relay this information to your doctor in order to find a more suitable treatment option.

Exercises to avoid for acid reflux

  • stomach crunches
  • abdominal presses
  • high impact exercise
  • lifting heavy things or weight lifting
  • bending or holding positions may actually be a reflux trigger.
  • running and sprinting
  • road cycling and mountain biking
  • gymnastics

Under any of the above conditions, exercise agitates the contents of your stomach. And just as a glass is likely to spill water when driving a car, your stomach is more likely to ‘spill’ (or reflux) under similar conditions. As a result, this causes the acid to move up and into your esophagus and cause heartburn.

Best exercises for acid reflux

Moderate and low impact exercises are best for heartburn sufferers.

  • walking
  • very light jogging
  • yoga – try the short yoga class for acid reflux video below
  • riding a stationary bike (for a smooth ride)
  • swimming
  • physiotherapy breathing exercises (see below)

If you need more help making up an exercise program to avoid heartburn from working out, consider these additional tips.

Physiotherapy breathing exercises for GERD

This video is really good. Whilst not actually a workout in itself, these breathing exercises for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) could easily be incorporated into your daily activities. This video guides you through four acid reflux exercises that are scientifically proven to reduce heartburn. The abdominal breathing exercises are a natural remedy for reflux because they reduce upward pressure from the stomach and may strengthen muscles to stop acid rising.

Avoid heartburn from working out by doing yoga and stretches

This quick, gentle yoga sequence is great for those suffering from acid reflux as it doesn’t have any inversions or ab stimulators.

In my experience with GERD or acid reflux in particular – I find that focusing on my breath has been most helpful. Also, do not let the stomach go over the esophagus during this time and go easy on any core stimulators.

The final word on how to avoid heartburn from working out

So, can you avoid heartburn from working out? Yes you can, but it can also play an important role in curing your heartburn when done in conjunction with other sensible heartburn remedies. Just as long as you do it right, you can not only be rid of the heartburn, but also say hello to all the other health benefits that regular exercise brings with it!