Can Exercising Help Prevent Heartburn?

Heartburn and acid reflux are two conditions caused by the same thing, which is stomach acid flowing back up the esophagus. Both conditions can be quite painful, and often lead to similar symptoms like chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a burning sensation in the throat (via Mayo Clinic).

Exercise can help prevent both heartburn and acid reflux by helping you lose weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for both heartburn and acid reflux, so by losing weight through exercise, you may be able to reduce your symptoms or even eliminate them entirely (via Rennie). If you're not sure how to start exercising to lose weight, talk to your doctor or a certified personal trainer who can create a safe and effective plan for you. However, intense forms of exercise can actually make heartburn worse because it can decrease blood flow in your digestive system (via Healthline). If you find that your heartburn gets worse after working out, you may want to try a different type of exercise or scale back the intensity.

What to know about heartburn

Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that can be caused by eating spicy or acidic foods, lying down after eating, or wearing tight clothing. Heartburn is a common problem that many people experience occasionally. However, if you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (via Cleveland Clinic). Heartburn is caused by stomach acid rising up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. It can also be caused by other factors, such as pregnancy, obesity, smoking, and certain medications.

There are a few things you can do to help relieve heartburn and prevent it from happening in the first place. Avoiding trigger foods that commonly cause heartburn including onions, garlic, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, and carbonated beverages, can help. Eating small meals and avoiding lying down right after eating can also decrease the likelihood that you will experience symptoms. If lifestyle changes don't help, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat your heartburn.