If so, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that approximately 25 percent of Americans never exercise, and this number is even higher among heartburn sufferers. According to a survey sponsored by Pepcid, two out of five weekly heartburn sufferers report that they stopped being active because of digestive symptoms (Source: Verywell).
We often think of acid reflux as a condition brought on by spicy foods or overindulging at the dinner table, but many heartburn sufferers find that their reflux symptoms are exacerbated by physical activity. Exercise that is intense or involves jarring movements can force stomach acid into the esophagus where it can cause burning and irritation.
Although exercise may produce digestive symptoms for some individuals, it is actually a great way to reduce or relieve the overall occurrence of heartburn. Researchers in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that losing 10 to 15 pounds can actually reduce heartburn symptoms by up to 40 percent (Source: Sepalika). If you’re prone to experiencing acid reflux during your exercise routine, try using these techniques to prevent the burn:
Time Meals Around Your Workout
Giving food adequate time to digest can greatly reduce the occurrence of heartburn. Try to wait at least one to two hours after eating before lacing up your cross-trainers.
Turn Down the Intensity
Exercises that are low-intensity and low-impact are less likely to trigger heartburn. Try swapping out that long distance run or cycling class for yoga or swimming.
Drinking water before, during and after your workout will help wash digestive acids out of the esophagus.
Tight-fitting workout clothes place pressure on the midsection and may trigger heartburn. Opt for loose or flowy activewear that gives you plenty of room to breathe.
Save Protein For The Finish Line
Protein bars and shakes take longer to digest and may promote heartburn episodes during your workout. Save these supplements as a treat for after your cool down.
Exercise-induced heartburn can be a significant source of discouragement, but don’t let it stand in the way of reaching your fitness goals. Use these tips to keep reflux on the sidelines, and see a doctor if your symptoms persist. There are several treatments, prevention techniques and lifestyle changes that can keep you healthy, fit and heartburn-free!