Tag Archives: LES

couple working out at the gym

Why and How Exercise Can Reduce Acid Reflux

 

From changing your sleeping position to adapting your diet, it’s a known fact that lifestyle changes can significantly reduce acid reflux symptoms.

With symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion, acid reflux and GERD sufferers are pretty keen on trying any and all suggestions to minimize flare-ups.

One recommendation to naturally reduce acid reflux is to begin or increase your weekly exercise regimen.

If you’re someone who’s always been an exercise fan–whether it be going to a local yoga class twice a week or swimming laps at the gym every morning–that’s great.

However, if you don’t currently have an enthusiasm for exercising, it’s understandable that you would be a bit more hesitant to dive into fitness.

In this post, we’ll provide you with an overview for why and how exercise can help reduce acid reflux symptoms along with what types of exercise you should try to lessen your symptoms.

Once you’re equipped with this knowledge, it’s easier to feel more motivated to prioritize fitness in your life.

Read on to find out more!

Why Exercise Is Important in Decreasing Acid Reflux

woman jogging at sunset

(Source)

Of course, exercise is a beneficial lifestyle factor in the lives of everyone–whether they have acid reflux or not.

The reasons that exercise is particularly important for GERD sufferers have to do with the affect that weight can have on the lower esophageal sphincter, also known as the LES.

Weight puts pressure on the LES, which prevents it from opening and closing at a fast enough rate.

If the LES functions at a slower pace, acid is more likely to pass through the LES and travel back up through the esophagus–creating the dreaded symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.

Therefore, obesity is a common factor when it comes to GERD–but you don’t need to be obese for there to be an effect.

Researchers in one study found that, “even in subjects with normal body weight, the risk of heartburn increased with weight gain despite the fact that the body mass index remained in the normal range.”

The researchers also determined that simply losing 10 to 15 pounds can reduce heartburn by 40 percent.

Types of Exercise That Reduce GERD Symptoms

Feeling motivated to become more active yet intimidated by the prospect of exercise?

No need to feel as if you need to immediately transform into a fitness junkie that can drop and do 50 pushups on command.

Taking baby steps will ensure that your fitness routine will become a sustainable practice and routine in your lifestyle.

For example, the best kinds of exercise to reduce acid reflux include…

  • Walking
  • Tai chi
  • Light jogging
  • Water aerobics and swimming
  • Stationary cycling
  • Upright yoga poses

In addition to helping you burn calories and lose weight, these exercises boost your immune system.

This is key because a healthy immune system works to rid your body of bacteria–including bacteria in your digestive system.

In particular, H. pylori (HP) is bacteria that, according to Sepalika, can be found in the lining of your stomach and affects approximately 66% of adults.

A study published in The Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons found that “significant evidence suggests the potential role of HP infection in the development of GERD.”

It’s also important to note that there are several exercises that can actually worsen acid reflux. These include…

  • Vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running and heavy cycling.
  • Weight lifting, since it often puts internal pressure within your abdomen and can affect your LES.
  • Anything that involves lying flat or bending down, since the pull of gravity can affect your LES and cause more heartburn and indigestion. This can include certain Pilates or yoga poses, as well as surfing. In fact, according to a study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, acid reflux was “significantly higher” in surfers versus non-surfers at a ratio of 28% to 7%.

Remember, don’t expect yourself to immediately become a pro at any type of exercise you try. Take it one step at a time.

If you make it a sustainable practice over time, you’ll begin to see how exercise can reduce acid reflux.

That said, exercise isn’t the only lifestyle modification needed to reduce acid reflux.

Learn more about how food can significantly affect your GERD symptoms.

The Bulimia & Acid Reflux Connection

Scales

In many industrialized countries, there’s a lot of societal pressure to look a certain way and be a certain size.

Unfortunately, correlating self worth with body weight has led many people to unhealthy obsessions and preoccupations with their body’s figure and the number on the scale.

Bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders have become increasingly common over the last half century. In fact, today 10-15% of all Americans suffer from some type of serious eating disorder.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by bouts of extreme overeating followed by fasting or self-induced vomiting. The condition can become life-threatening in many circumstances if it goes untreated.

In addition to a loss of body fat, there are other negative effects of bulimia to one’s health.

One of the negative side-effects of continual self-induced vomiting is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) becomes weakened or damaged over time.

A healthy LES opens when a person is eating food, and stays tightly shut when they aren’t.

However, with the continual vomiting that occurs for people with bulimia, the LES malfunctions and will allow stomach acid to come back up through the esophagus.

When this happens, people experience heartburn and indigestion. In some cases, symptoms can progress to the point that people are unable to eat a regular sized meal without vomiting involuntarily.

If you have (or had) bulimia nervosa and experience these symptoms, then you are most likely suffering from acid reflux or GERD, a more severe form of reflux.

It’s important that you take steps to treating and curing your acid reflux.

Untreated GERD can result in damage to the esophagus due to acid, which can lead to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus and potentially esophageal cancer.

If your battle with bulimia has caused you to develop acid reflux, there’s a few things you can do to begin the healing process and prevent the flare-up of symptoms.

Give Your Body Time to Digest Before Sleeping

You can minimize occurrences of indigestion and heartburn by eating at at least three hours before going to sleep or lying down.

Elevating your head while sleeping can also help. Use pillows or raise the head of your bed six to eight inches by placing wooden blocks under your bedposts.

Changing the Size and Frequency of Meals.

To minimize instances of bringing, people in eating disorder recovery are advised to add structure to their meal consumption.

This usually means eating three pre-planned meals and three snacks a day, aiming to eat every three hours.

You should try to eat more slowly, remain relaxed during meal times, and pay more attention to chewing food.

Luckily, following these suggestions kills two birds with one stone–they can also reduce GERD symptoms.

Focus on Foods That Won’t Trigger Symptoms.

Several types of food can cause acid reflux and heartburn. There can include fatty or fried foods, alcohol, coffee, soda, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.

That said, if you are in eating disorder recovery, it can work against you to create new food rules. If your frame of mind is too focused on all the food you “shouldn’t” eat, you are at risk for creating more unhealthy and damaging food rules.

My suggestion for healthy eating disorder and acid reflux recovery is to focus on all of the foods that can help lessen GERD symptoms.

These include vegetables, ginger, oatmeal, non-citrus fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats.

Learning to blend your bulimia and acid reflux processes may take some practice, but in the end it will be worth it.

If you deal with Acid Reflux and are curious about how to heal it naturally, click here to learn more