If you've suffered from chronic heartburn, you probably already know that heartburn can be a trigger.
But, avoiding exercise to prevent heartburn symptoms isn't in anyone's best interest.
Exercise isn't just important to cardiovascular health, it can also help you lose weight. Being overweight is an important risk factor in acid reflux, and losing weight can help reduce your symptoms.
This week's Really column in the New York Times addresses the exercise and acid reflux conundrum. Though some exercises can exacerbate symptoms, a 2004 study found that people who exercise for 30 minutes once a week or more, and ate a high-fiber diet, cut their symptoms in half.
So exercise prevents heartburn, but also makes it worse.
What's an acid reflux sufferer to do?
- Exercise on an empty stomach -- no meals or snacks two hours before your workout.
- Hydrate with water instead of those high carb sports drinks.
- Choose your exercise well: agitating exercises like running can cause symptoms, while more stationary exercises, like biking, are less likely to.
- Consider your body position: lying flat and other exercises that increase abdominal pressure are more likely to cause pain.
According to WebMD, you might not have to follow those tips stringently, though. It depends on your body and your heartburn symptoms. They suggest playing around with the amount of time you eat before exercise, and what you eat before working out, to find out what works for you. Coffee and orange juice -- common heartburn triggers -- are probably a no-go, but a banana or yogurt might be just fine.
Have you had to deal with exercise and acid reflux? How did you handle it?