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Getting Fit with GERD

Tips to Reduce Symptoms During Exercise
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
The relationship between exercise and gastro esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is a tricky one. For some people, moderate exercise can help reduce GERD symptoms and benefit the body in countless other ways too. In a 2004 study in the gastroenterology journal Gut, people who engaged in frequent physical exercise experienced fewer symptoms of GERD than those who did not. And regular exercise is one of the most effective strategies for keeping your weight at a healthy level, which may help to control GERD symptoms. Research reported in The American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that excess body weight increases a person's risk of GERD symptoms. Obese people (defined as a body mass index greater than 30) were 2.5 times more likely to have reflux symptoms or esophageal erosions than people with "normal" BMI's (between 18.5 and 24.9). They were also nearly three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than those with a healthy body weight.

Exercise benefits your health in countless ways, and may even reduce the incidence of GERD symptoms. But for some people, especially those participating in intense workouts, exercise can actually worsen symptoms. But no expert would recommend that you trade in your sneakers for fleece slippers in the interest of warding off GERD. The benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks and discomforts of acid reflux. Rather than ditching your workouts, just follow a few simple guidelines to get fit with GERD. GERD symptoms like heartburn and chest pain are usually indistinguishable from the pain and symptoms of serious heart problems due to the fact that the same nerves are involved. Doctors encourage everyone to take all forms of chest pain seriously. If you experience chest pain, during exercise or not, get checked out by a doctor.

Remember that every body is unique—what works for one person may cause problems for the next. If you are suffering from GERD, it may take a little trial and error until you find the workout that works for you.