Do Workouts Cause Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition that many people experience when they workout. While there is no concrete evidence that workouts cause acid reflux, there are some things that you can do to help prevent it.


Exercise is generally considered to be a healthy activity and can have a number of positive effects on our body and mind. However, for some people, rigorous workouts can cause an uncomfortable phenomena called acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids are pushed up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing burning sensations and other unpleasant symptoms. While it is normal for some levels of stomach acid to be present in the esophagus during workouts, excessive levels can indicate an underlying issue that should be addressed by a medical professional. In this article, we will discuss how exercise can lead to acid reflux and what steps one should take to manage the condition in order to reap the full benefits of physical activity.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition in which acids from the stomach travel up into the esophagus, causing discomfort and heartburn. It is a common condition, particularly affecting those who are obese, pregnant or smoke, and can also be caused by certain medications, food, and beverages. In recent years, there have been studies linking abdominal exercises and workouts to the onset of acid reflux. Let’s take a closer look at the connection between workouts and acid reflux.


Acid reflux, commonly referred to as heartburn, occurs when digestive acids from the stomach flow up and into the esophagus. This can be caused by a variety of factors including diet and lifestyle habits. Acid reflux is often associated with unhealthy eating habits such as overeating, eating too quickly, or consuming large amounts of fatty or spicy foods. Additionally, certain lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol can increase acid reflux symptoms.

Exercise can also play a role in the development of acid reflux. While exercise helps maintain good digestive health and overall wellbeing, excessive or strenuous activities can be a trigger for the condition. More specifically, intense exercise that involves abdominal exercises like sit-ups and crunches may cause increased pressure in the stomach area resulting in an increased risk of acid reflux. Engaging in more moderate exercises such as walking or cycling are seen as safer options for people prone to developing symptoms from acid reflux.

In addition to diet and lifestyle changes certain medications may be prescribed for more severe cases of acid reflux if recommended by a healthcare professional. If you have concerns about your condition please consult your doctor to discuss treatment options suitable for you.


Acid reflux is an uncomfortable condition caused by digestive acid coming up from the stomach and entering into the esophagus. It causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat, and can cause chronic coughing, hoarseness, bloating, or heartburn. The symptoms of acid reflux may increase after eating certain foods or drinking certain beverages or lying down after eating a meal. Symptoms may also be triggered when lying on the back.

The main symptom of acid reflux is a burning feeling in the chest or throat that develops after eating. This feeling can sometimes be accompanied by a bitter taste on the inside of your mouth, cough that gets worse when lying down, sore throat, chest pain and difficulty swallowing. Other common symptoms include hiccups, regurgitation of food in your mouth and belching gas into your throat — which causes an unpleasant taste and smell.

How Does Exercise Affect Acid Reflux?

Exercise can be beneficial to your overall health, but it can also have an impact on your digestion. Many people who suffer from acid reflux or other digestive issues are curious how exercise can affect them. In this article, we will discuss how workouts can cause or worsen acid reflux, along with some tips to help manage it.

Intensity of Exercise

The intensity of exercise has a direct correlation with the degree of acid reflux symptoms experienced. High-intensity exercises such as running or sprinting, can stress the body and make the stomach secrete more acid. This in turn can cause heartburn, chest pain and other discomfort. People experiencing frequent bouts of acid reflux should avoid high-intensity exercises and should instead focus on moderate physical activity such as brisk walking, jogging or biking.

Lower intensity activities also have their benefits when it comes to reducing episodes of acid reflux. Studies suggest that regular low-impact activity like yoga, pilates and resistance training may ease symptoms over time by strengthening core muscles in the abdomen which can reduce stress on abdominal organs associated with GERD symptoms. Additionally, moderate exercise helps improve digestion by increasing the flow of blood to the digestive organs which ensures that food moves quickly through your digestive tract and reduces pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) preventing stomach contents from backing up into your esophagus.

Types of Exercises

When it comes to exercise and acid reflux, the type of exercise and its intensity can affect how many of your symptoms are worsened. While moderate aerobic activity may help reduce acid reflux symptoms, certain exercises such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and sit-ups can often worsen them. To reduce the risk of triggering acid reflux symptoms due to exercise it is important to be aware of how these types of activities affect your body so that you can make mindful changes to the intensity level.

Although some people may experience an increase in symptoms during or after a workout depending on the type, moderate aerobic exercises generally do not worsen acid reflux. These include walking, jogging, swimming, biking and light weightlifting. In general, activities that are low impact that keep your body upright without too much intense upward pressure like sprinting or running up hills tend to be better tolerated by those with GERD conditions.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular in recent years with its ability to burn fat quickly. However if you have issues with GERD flare-ups during workouts this type of exercise may not be recommended as the intense pressure placed on your stomach could cause more damage than relief. Similarly abdominal crunches or core work is often linked with increased issues of acid reflux due to the massive tension on core muscles forcing more pressure onto the stomach area and distorting digestion cycle within it. Gymnastics moves like cartwheels that put too much stress on abdominal muscles should also be avoided if experiencing regular episodes of acid reflux.

Tips for Reducing Acid Reflux While Exercising

Exercising is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but it can also trigger acid reflux in some people. While exercise is important for overall health and well-being, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with acid reflux and take steps to reduce the likelihood of it occurring while working out. In this article, we will explore some tips for reducing acid reflux while exercising.

Avoid High-Intensity Exercises

Those who experience occasional acid reflux while exercising should avoid high-intensity workouts such as running, high-impact aerobics, and weightlifting. These types of exercises can cause the abdominal muscles to contract forcefully during exertion and increase pressure on the stomach. Instead, try low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming that allow you to stay in control of your movements.

When engaging in any activity, take the time to warm up thoroughly before beginning a more intense workout. This will get your body used to the increased exertion and reduce the chances of triggering acid reflux.

In addition to avoiding strenuous exercises, wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t affect your natural breathing patterns or put extra pressure on your abdominal muscles while exercising. It’s also important to drink enough water before, during and after exercise – not drinking enough fluids can contribute to acid reflux episodes. Finally, try taking certain medications or supplements prior to working out that may help reduce stomach acid production and lessen your chances of experiencing an episode.

Wear Loose Clothing

When it comes to exercising with acid reflux, wearing loose clothing can help minimize any potential discomfort. Opt for athletic wear made with lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton or synthetic blends that allow your body to breathe. Avoid items that are tight-fitting around your abdomen and chest as these can inhibit good breathing and place added pressure on the digestive tract. Additionally, stay away from clothing with strings like drawstrings or elastic waistbands that can cause constriction around the midsection. Additionally, you may also want to consider elevating the head of your bed as sleeping at a slight incline can help reduce traction on the stomach. This may be especially helpful after workouts or if symptoms persist throughout the night even when you’re not physically active or exercising.

Avoid Eating Before Exercise

One of the most important tips for reducing acid reflux while exercising is to avoid eating for at least two hours before your physical activity. Eating a large or spicy meal can stimulate the production of stomach acids and increase the risk of heartburn during exercise. If you must eat before exercising, it is best to stick with bland snacks such as plain crackers or toast. It’s also a good idea to stay slow and low when practicing stomach exercises, as anything that involves lifting heavy weights or bearing down could increase abdominal pressure and exacerbate reflux-related symptoms.

In addition, exercise can cause a hiatal hernia to become aggravated. After working out, be sure to practice good posture in order to facilitate proper digestion, breathing, and relaxation of the muscles around your abdomen. Additionally, wearing clothes that are fitted properly around your waist will help reduce unnecessary strain on your abdominal area which could aggravate symptoms associated with acid reflux. Ultimately being mindful about what you eat before physical activity as well as being aware of how true physical activity impacts your own body are key components of ensuring that you have safe and healthy workout sessions without any risk of developing unpleasant digestive symptoms afterwards.

Drink Plenty of Water

Exercise can increase pressure on the digestive system, which may lead to acid reflux. To reduce the risk of experiencing GERD symptoms from exercise, it is important to stay hydrated as you work out. When dehydration occurs, it makes digestion difficult and causes muscles to contract. As a result, acid can reflux or move back up into your esophagus, causing discomfort or even pain in your lower chest area.

Therefore, experts suggest drinking water before, after and during workouts as an effective strategy for reducing acid reflux when exercising. Water also helps keep airways and joints lubricated during activity; this reduces stress on the organs in your stomach that help break down food and absorb nutrients. The best way to ensure adequate hydration is to sip water throughout the day so that there is sufficient fluid available prior to beginning exercise sessions. Additionally, avoiding drinking large amounts of fluids at one time will help reduce risk of reflux-related issues post-workout as well.


In conclusion, there is no definitive answer to the question of whether or not workouts can cause acid reflux. While many studies have been done on the subject, results have been inconclusive. It is possible that some forms of exercise, such as weightlifting, may aggravate existing acid reflux symptoms in people who already suffer from the condition. That being said, moderate exercise such as walking or jogging may actually help to reduce symptoms in some individuals.

When engaging in physical activity, individuals should take measures to reduce their risk of developing active acid reflux symptoms by avoiding eating before engaging in any physical activity. People should also avoid lying down after meals and utilize specific techniques for managing stress and anxiety which can lead to increased acid production within the stomach. Additionally, drinking fluids 30 minutes prior to a workout is recommended as this helps facilitate better digestion and helps prevent dehydration which could also lead to heartburn or indigestion.
With so many variables at play it is important that individuals experiment with different forms of exercise and lifestyle habits until they find what works best for them in order to maintain good digestive health and prevent problems such as this from arising in the future.

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