Tag Archives: Obesity

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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.

Acid Reflux Risks Factors: What to Know and What to Do

If you or someone you love suffers from constant heartburn, it’s only natural to wonder what triggered the painful symptoms.

Maybe you daily experience the burning and nausea that comes with GERD. Or perhaps someone in your family suffers from chronic acid reflux, and you’re wondering what factors increase the likelihood that you’re next.

There are several acid reflux risk factors that can lead to struggling with GERD. The good news is that you can control some of these influencers.

In this article, I’ll explain 3 lifestyle choices that increase your chances of developing acid reflux and what you can do to reduce your risk.

Smoking

Smoking can do more than damage your lungs. This destructive habit can also trigger GERD.

As WebMD explains, smoking can cause acid reflux—increasing your stomach’s acid production and hindering your lower esophageal sphincter muscle in addition to other problems.

The only solution to escaping these complications is to avoid smoking altogether. As you work to replace your nicotine habit with healthy choices, focus on the digestive benefits you will gain.

In 2016, PLOS ONE released a research study examining individuals who had quit cigarette use. The articles states that 43.9% of the patients who stopped smoking saw their GERD improve.

Removing this risk factor from your life allows you to experience an opportunity for acid reflux relief.

Obesity and Poor Diet

It’s no secret that obesity, in conjunction with a poor diet, can lead to a number of health problems. If you’re a GERD sufferer, you should also know that obesity is one of the acid reflux risk factors you can eliminate from your life.

According to an article published by the Obesity Action Coalition

Studies have shown that weight gain and an increase in the size of one’s belly may either cause or worsen this condition [acid reflux].

However, as the article goes on to explain, losing weight can help you turn back your GERD symptoms.

If you struggle with obesity caused by a poor diet, there are some simple steps you can take to shift your life onto a healthier path. Here are a few of my personal recommendations below:

#1 Avoid processed foods. Prepared foods can be high in sugar, salt, and other harmful chemicals and additives. To avoid damaging health and gaining weight, it’s important that you cook your own meals or eat prepared foods with ingredients you know are healthy.

#2 Avoid inflammatory foods. Even if you cook your own meals, you can still eat foods that cause inflammation. Try to avoid frying your food, using white flour, and adding sugar to your diet. Opt instead for inflammation-reducing vegetables and fruits.

#3 Increase your activity. Weight loss will be difficult unless you take steps to be more active. It doesn’t have to be complicated: begin focusing on simple exercises, such as walking, to start shedding pounds.

Medications

Medication is one of the acid reflux risk factors you may be unaware of. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of pills that can create GERD, such as…

  • Osteoporosis medication (bisphosphonates).
  • Pain medications (ibuprofen and aspirin).
  •  Quinidine.
  •  Antibiotics.

While you may be unable to skip taking medication like quinidine, you can control your intake of ibuprofen or antibiotics. Don’t take antibiotics unless they are necessary. Skip those inflammatory foods to avoid the aches that lead to pain medication.

Healing acid reflux—without masking your symptoms with PPIs, H2 blockers, and antacids—can mean more than putting down the cigarette or getting on the treadmill.

Often, the key to ending acid reflux is getting to the bottom of your health issues.

Join the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program to gain the knowledge, tools, and support you need for restoring your health and easing your GERD.