Karen Asp

You're determined to slim down, especially if it will help your heartburn. Extra weight, after all, increases abdominal pressure, which can exacerbate heartburn symptoms. Problem: Doing aerobics sometimes gives you heartburn.

What can you do?

Follow these tips from Professor Robert Robergs for aerobics without heartburn. Robergs teaches health, exercise and sports science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and is a board member of the National Heartburn Alliance.

1. Be your own guinea pig.

Because every heartburn sufferer responds differently to aerobics, experiment a little to see what works for you. Try different types of aerobics, then do some trial and error with medications and food around exercise time. You might, for instance, find that you can do aerobics without heartburn if you take medication before exercising. Or maybe you do better with a little food in your tummy versus none at all.

2. Do vertical, low-impact aerobics.

To minimize heartburn, stick with aerobic activities that keep you in an upright position (so as not to increase abdominal pressure) and are low-impact (so you’re not jostling that belly with a lot of bouncing around). Think cycling, walking, or exercising on the elliptical trainer or stairstepper, for instance. Activities like swimming, running and high-impact aerobics could potentially trigger heartburn, but again, experiment to see what works for you.

3. Watch the intensity.

Although research has yet to prove this, high-intensity aerobics could worsen heartburn. “Common-sense logic suggests that the greater rate and depth of ventilation [i.e., breathing] during intense exercise would put extra pressure on your abdominals, which could make heartburn worse,” says Robergs. So for aerobics without heartburn, veer toward moderate-intensity exercise.

4. Log it.

Every time you exercise, write down how you felt (including all heartburn symptoms), what type of aerobics you did and what you ate before exercising. Then review that log. “You’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not working so you can make adjustments based on what you’re experiencing,” says Robergs.

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. If your heartburn pops up during a workout, try another aerobic activity and see how you tolerate it, keeping track of everything in your log. Aerobics without heartburn is possible! As Robergs says, “Work to overcome any problems you’re having with heartburn during exercise, as regular aerobic exercise offers numerous long-term benefits.”

Karen Asp is a fitness/health writer who contributes to numerous publications, including Fitness, Natural Health, Men's Fitness, Prevention, Self, Shape and Women's Health. She's a contributing editor for Woman's Day and the Fit Travel blogger for AOL. Asp is also a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.


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Health - Aerobics Without Heartburn