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Acid Reflux

7 Exercises That Can Trigger Acid Reflux

Aug 29, 2017
Trigger Acid Reflux

AR Exercise

If you love working out, you probably enjoy the burn you feel in your hard-working muscles. However, our guess is that you don’t quite enjoy exercise-induced heartburn so much! If exercising is worsening your GERD, you don’t have to kick your trainers off and call it quits. Instead, simply avoid these exercises that can trigger heartburn. And enjoy a healthy workout that keeps your weight in check!

Trigger Acid Reflux


1. Running

Running exacerbates symptoms of acid reflux even in elite athletes. This is because as a high-impact workout, running causes agitation. This makes it easier for your stomach acid to move into your esophagus. Low impact workouts are better. So a good choice for a cardio workout would be jogging or a brisk walk. If you love to run, try trail running or run on a treadmill instead of a hard pavement.

Trigger Acid Reflux


2. Spinning

Spin classes where you are crouched over your bike can worsen exercise-induced heartburn. While cycling is less agitating than running, the body position is to blame here. Spinning exerts constant pressure on the Lower Esophageal Sphincter. This can allow stomach acid to leak into the esophagus and up your throat. If you love cycling, an upright exercise bike is a better choice, as it doesn’t exert the same kind of pressure on the LES.

Trigger Acid Reflux



With all that twirling, somersaulting, rolling and circling, gymnastics is not recommended for GERD sufferers. It can trigger bad heartburn because these body postures reverse the flow of digestion, forcing stomach acid back into the esophagus.

Trigger Acid Reflux

Weight Lifting

3. Weight Lifting

Studies have found that of all high-impact workouts, weightlifters experienced the most heartburn and reflux. Weight lifting involves a lot of bending over to lift a heavy weight, which applies pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The process causes the LES to open up and allow acid back up the esophagus and into the throat. If you are a serious about body building, talk to an expert about choosing the right kind of posture and pre-workout meals that ease symptoms of reflux.

Trigger Acid Reflux

Body Weight Training

4. Body Weight Training

Some bodyweight training routines, specifically those that target the core muscles, increase risk of GERD. Firstly, you’re lying on your back in a flat position, which makes it easier for stomach acid to travel back up the esophagus. Secondly, as you do sit-ups, leg curls and crunches, you exert extra pressure on your LES, allowing stomach acid to leak into the esophagus. Core workouts are best avoided if you have chronic GERD, especially on a full stomach.

Trigger Acid Reflux


5. Skipping

Another agitating exercise, skipping is a high impact workout because of the force exerted when your feet land hard on the floor. It’s this combined action of agitation, jumping and jostling that makes skipping a big risk factor for acid reflux. In fact, any cardio workout that involves jumping is not a good option for you.

Trigger Acid Reflux


6. Surfing

Surfing is strongly associated with GERD. Researchers have found that short-board surfing appears to have a stronger association with GERD than long-board surfing. This is because paddling for extended periods of time in the prone position on hard surfboard surfaces increases intra-abdominal pressure, triggering acid reflux.

Trigger Acid Reflux

Inverted Poses During Yoga

7. Inverted Poses During Yoga

While yoga is great for acid reflux, some poses are best avoided. Inverted poses that reverse the natural gravity of digestion can trigger heartburn, as it becomes easier for stomach acids to rise back up the esophagus. Examples of these include, but aren’t limited to: Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Head Stand Pose (Sirshasana), Hare Pose (Shashankasana), Bound Angle Headstand Pose (Baddha Kona Sirsasana), Feathered Peacock Pose (Pinch Mayurasana), Knee to Ear Pose (Karnapidasana) and Lotus in Shoulder Stand Pose (Padma Sarvangasana).

Trigger Acid Reflux


So Which Exercises Are Best?

If your goal is to lose weight, choose low impact exercises coupled with a healthy diet to give you pain-free results. We recommend:

  • Brisk Walking
  • Light Jogging
  • Upright Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Light Weight Training, using a machine instead of free weights
  • Swimming

The key is to consistently exercise and focus on a healthy diet, and you will drop the weight for relief from acid reflux.

Maneera Saxena Behl
Maneera is a health and fitness enthusiast who is also a firm believer in the power of dietary supplements. A health buff, she likes to help others improve their overall well-being by achieving the right balance between nutrition, exercise and mindfulness.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Induced by Exercise in Healthy Volunteers –

Esophageal reflux in conditioned runners, cyclists, and weightlifters –

The impact of physical exercise on the gastrointestinal tract –

Surfing as a risk factor for gastroesophageal reflux disease –