Exercise Heartburn

Exercise Heartburn: Acid Reflux During Training

Exercise is meant to keep you healthy, but if you have 'exercise heartburn' it isn't. Your last meal churns up into your throat with every workout. Very unpleasant.

A reason for many people to stop their running or aerobics. That is a shame, because exercise can help to stop your acid reflux instead of causing it.

Avoid Exercise Heartburn

Regular exercise improves acid reflux. The trick is to time your meals correctly. That means no large meals within two hours before exercise. Avoid foods that increase acid reflux like chocolate, coffee or cola before training.

If you are hungry before running, eat something light like a yoghurt or an apple

Exercise After Heavy Meals

It is not a good idea to plan a sport activity on a full stomach. Running, jumping or working out, means shaking and muscular activity in your belly. It puts pressure on your stomach and drives acid out of your stomach. You'll get exercise heartburn in no time. 

Walk or cycle gently afer large meals.  Moderate exercise promotos digestion:

  • It stimulates smooth muscles to move contents through the digestive system.  
  • Burps find their way out of the stomach so that stomach pressure lowers
  • Secretion of digestive enzymes increases

Train To Stop Acid Reflux

The best time to plan your sports activities is before, or between meals. Try to avoid heavy exercise for at least one hour after eating.  Regular exercise promotes your digestive health in many ways:


The biggest advantage is a phenomenom called the 'afterburn effect'. Hours, sometimes days after training, your metabolism works harder to recover from training. The more you push your body during exercise, the longer it takes for your metabolism to get back to 'normal'.

Speeding up your metabolism, means increasing the rate of your body's biochemical processes. This stimulates your digestive system, which starts working harder: smooth muscles in your stomach contract faster and and digestive juices secretion increases.

When I go running or cycling for an hour or so, I can eat almost anything afterwards without having heartburn. Sugars in blood and muscles are used up during strenuous exercise. The carbs that you eat after exercise  absorb rapidly into your bloodstream. They have less time to nourish carb-loving, heartburn causing bacteria inside your small intestine.

High intensity work-outs like weight training or sprinting really boost your metabolism and have a greater after burn impact than gentle activities like walking or jogging.


Exercise trains and mobilizes your spine and muscles. It improves your posture, which has a positive impact on your stomach. A straight back brings back your stomach in a natural position.   That means less pressure on your stomach and maximum power for the muscular valve to keep your stomach closed. Abdominal exercises (on an empty stomach) give your stomach a proper support.


Exercise helps you to lose weight. Abdominal fat puts pressure on your internal organs, wich causes acid to reflux upwards.  


Stress has a negative influence on heartburn, because it  makes your heartburn more painful. Many people who are stressed out, are more likely to start craving foods.

Physical acitivity counters stress by boosting production of your body’s natural stress relievers: the endorphines. They make you feel more relaxed and act as painkillers .

Exercise Wisely

If you suffer from acid reflux and you're a real couch potato,  start walking after your meals. It helps your digestion and soothes your heartburn.

If you are sportsman who suffers from exercise heartburn during your training, start timing your meals correctly and try to eat sensibly for stopping acid reflux.

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