Exercise—the Right Way
Sponsored By: PRILOSEC OTC ®
Here are three ways to modify your workouts and cut your risk of developing heartburn.
- Avoid exercises that require you to be upright and bounce against gravity, such as jogging, aerobics or jumping rope. Bouncing jostles the contents of your stomach and can cause acid to rise back up into the esophagus.
- Keep your abs as relaxed as possible. Tensed or clenched stomach muscles during weight-bearing exercises can increase abdominal pressure and increase acid reflux into the esophagus.
- After eating, wait one to two hours before exercising. Don’t eat directly after a fitness activity. And never eat while working out.
Before you indulge, keep these facts in mind.
Fatty or greasy foods slow down digestion, which means that acid and food remain in the stomach longer. This gives the acid a greater opportunity to move backward into the esophagus.
Peppermint, spearmint and chocolate contain compounds that cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to loosen or relax, thus allowing acid to enter the esophagus.
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and cola raise the level of acidity in the stomach, making stomach juices even more irritating.
Alcoholic beverages, citrus juices, spicy foods and tomato products directly irritate the esophagus.
When you decrease the size of your portions, your stomach is primed to produce much less acid than when you eat big meals. And less acid means less chance of acid reflux.
Is your sleep interrupted by heartburn? Try these tips.
Finish eating your final meal of the day at least two to three hours before going to bed. The added time will give your food and acid levels a chance to clear before lying down—the position in which heartburn is most likely to occur.
Use blocks to elevate the head of your bed by four to six inches. Then gravity will help prevent acid from creeping into the esophagus while you are lying down.
Try sleeping on your left side. Some studies indicate that this helps with digestion and also accelerates the removal of acid from your stomach.
A number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can trigger heartburn:
- High blood pressure and heart medications
- Asthma medications, which can both decrease the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure and stimulate the acid production that contributes to heartburn
- Certain antibiotics, which can be irritating to the esophagus
The bottom line: Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you suspect one of your medications may be contributing to your heartburn. But never stop taking any prescription medication before checking with your doctor.
How quickly you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overfilling your stomach can result in acid reflux and heartburn. Plus, it takes a while for the sensation of fullness and satisfaction to develop—and if you eat too fast, chances are you’ll eat too much.
Sucking on hard candy triggers the production of saliva, which acts as a natural barrier to acid. But be sure to avoid mint candies. Mint can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which functions to help prevent the backflow of acid.
Don’t wear tight belts or binding clothing. Restrictive garments can increase abdominal pressure and increase reflux of acid into the esophagus.
It’s harder for gastric contents to move upward into the esophagus when you’re standing tall. But when you lie down, gravity is no longer working in your favor, which is one reason why heartburn can strike at night. Bending down has the same effect—and can also increase abdominal pressure, further increasing the potential for acid reflux.
The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis or recommended treatments. For severe heartburn or heartburn that persists after trying over-the-counter treatment or lifestyle modifications, visit your doctor to determine the right treatment for you. See the Terms and Conditions for more information.