A variety of exercises are known to trigger acid reflux.

And there is one type of exercise in particular that can quickly shoot acid right up into your throat and cause a funny taste in your mouth.

Jonathan Zinberg, MD, explains what kind of exercises and a particular workout technique that can trigger acid reflux. You’ll be surprised at what’s on his list.

Dr. Zinberg is chief of gastroenterology at South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, NY.

And he says, “Any exercise that involves a Valsalva maneuver, especially if lying back, would be likely to increase reflux.”

The Valsava maneuver is when a person holds their breath during exertion or straining, such as when struggling to push the bar back up in a bench press or the sled back up in a leg press.

This is the same type of bearing down that one might do when sitting on a toilet and pushing like mad to void a very hard and stubborn stool.

Except with lifting against resistance, a heavy weight is involved. This will put more force and strain on the body.

This is the wrong way to work out and get in that last rep. When I was a personal trainer I made sure that my clients were always exhaling as they struggled with heavy weight.

Avoid the Valsavla maneuver at all costs, because not only can it cause acid reflux (which is a benign issue), but — it can spike blood pressure quite a bit.

“Bench presses, leg extensions or leg curls, weightlifting generally and vigorous running all may lead to reflux,” says Dr. Zinberg.

A lot depends on the individual, too. For some, the only kind of exercise that triggers acid reflux is that which involves erratic, jarring movements, such as sprints, kickboxing, step aerobics, jump rope and plyometric drills (box jumping, squat jumps, scissor jumps, etc.).

Think of all the jostling around that goes on inside your stomach during these activities.

That’s a lot of opportunity for stomach juice to get kicke up the esophagus.

Once your body is calmed down, the acid reflux should subside.

If it occurs only when you’re moving around erratically, as opposed to lying on a bench and pushing up a bar, it should go away fairly quickly once you cease the erratic movements.

Jonathan Zinberg, MD

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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