Running is one of the world’s most popular and effective workouts, but the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Ft. Worth and Dallas can make it tough to pound the pavement. If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion, your discomfort may have made you write off high-impact activities like running for good.
Yet exercise can be a valuable tool in fighting GERD—regular workouts can help us reduce the stress and excess weight that so frequently lead to acid reflux and other symptoms. Well, runner’s rejoice—as long as you’re careful, running can still be a good way to get a workout without sparking your symptoms.
Remember: before you introduce any strenuous activities to your exercise routine, you should always check with your GERD surgeon. Many people who suffer from GERD can run without having problems, but it may not be as well suited for others. Though you should ask Dr. Ihde for advice if you have any doubts, these tips can help many GERD sufferers run without worry:
- Watch what (and how) you eat. If you have GERD, you’re probably more than used to keeping a close eye on your diet, but doing so will be especially important before a run. When reflux flares up while running, think back to what and how you ate that day. The cause of your symptoms may not be running itself, but rather the espresso you drank for an energy boost or the lunch you scarfed down to have enough time for a workout. Remember: it’s a smart choice to wait at least two hours after eating to go for a run, but many people also like to eat a banana or something else soothing to the stomach before heading out.
- Go over-the-counter. Home remedies and over-the-counter indigestion medicines are not a permanent solution for GERD, but can provide you with much-needed short-term relief. Try antacids that include calcium like Tums, or mix a half-teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water. If you use one of these remedies before a run, it can neutralize stomach acid to keep symptoms away during your workout.
If these tips don’t help you run reflux-free, don’t hesitate to talk to your GERD surgeon about others ways to treat your symptoms. Reflux surgery can make it possible to put GERD behind you for good.
Are you a runner who suffers from GERD in Ft. Worth or Dallas? Share any other tips that have helped you in comments below!
If you struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then you might feel like heartburn and acid reflux develop no-matter what you do. If you are sedentary, then you are more likely to pack on weight—something that worsens heartburn. But if you get up and go without taking any precautions then your exercise attempts can backfire and cause more acid reflux.
If you are struggling with GERD, then it may be time to talk to your GERD surgeon about your choices for reflux surgery. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is caused by a damaged lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This is the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this valve malfunctions, digestive fluids like stomach acid are permitted to travel back into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining and causing heartburn and acid reflux.
If your LES is damaged, the only way to repair it is with reflux surgery. Taking several steps while preparing for your workout can reduce the intensity of exercise induced heartburn and acid reflux.
Here are a few tips to reduce acid reflux after your workout:
- Wait two hours: Remember the old summertime rule when you were a kid: No pool for two hours after eating. We knew swimming after eating would give us a cramp. Use the same rule in your workout plans, as exercising right after a meal can induce heartburn. Try working out before your meal instead of after.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking water can help with digestion and reduce your chances of experiencing heartburn.
- Don’t make any assumptions: If you find that you are only experiencing heartburn during or after a hard workout, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Chest pain is often mistaken for heartburn. Your GERD surgeon can confirm that the discomfort you are experiencing is indeed heartburn.
- Keep it up: Exercise helps with weight loss, which can in turn reduce your heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. While it might cause symptoms now, exercising daily might gradually help reduce your symptoms. Plus, exercise has many other health benefits that outweigh the risk of post-workout heartburn.
As you are working out you might find that some exercises impact your heartburn worse than others. For example, an activity with a lot of jumping like Zumba might cause acid reflux while something like swimming or jogging does not. Be especially careful with activities that would encourage you to position your head below your heart—like yoga.
Find an activity that reduces your problem with heartburn and keep it up! Do you know of other ways to prevent heartburn and acid reflux from interfering with your workout? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below!