Regular exercise is a must for everyone, regardless if they suffer from chronic acid reflux or not. Exercise is what helps to keep our bodies strong and healthy. Exercise is what also helps us lose those extra pounds; extra pounds that many researchers believe may be encouraging acid reflux.
Research has found that for those who are overweight and obese, losing weight can actually help reduce the risk of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. Why? Many studies have been conducted on the link between BMI (Body Mass Index –a method of measuring body fat) and GERD. Virtually all studies concluded that as the participants’ BMI increased, so did their GERD symptoms.
How does obesity increase the risk of developing GERD?
Researchers are not entirely sure of the exact cause, but there are many theories being closely considered. For instance, some believe that excess body fat that occurs around the stomach, increases the pressure against the stomach, and causes fluid to rise up into the esophagus. Thus, the more weight a person accumulates, the more fat and pressure is placed on the stomach.
Another theory is that many of those who are overweight and obese tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle, indulge in a diet rich in fatty foods and overeating. This type of lifestyle dramatically increases the chance of chronic acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
One recent study that was conducted on women with normal BMI in Boston, Massachusetts, found that as these women increased their weight (gaining 20 pounds or more) during the study, they increased their risk of developing acid reflux symptoms by three times. Thus, this study actually discovered that a person doesn’t need to be obese in order to increase their risk of heartburn and GERD symptoms. Simply gaining 10 pounds, a slight change from their regular weight could tip the scale.
Therefore, if you are prone to acid reflux or have GERD, be mindful of your weight. If you are maintaining a normal weight (BMI 18.5-24..9) there is no reason for you to consider losing weight, unless you have gained a few pounds and notice a change in your heartburn symptoms, even if you are still in the normal weight range. Other than that, keep in mind that a BMI of 25 and over is considered overweight, and a BMI 30 or higher is a sign of obesity. To help monitor your weight, you can find free BMI calculators online.
If you need to lose weight, your goal is to do so effectively and sensibly. This means avoiding crash diets, and adopting a new lifestyle focused on healthy eating habits that involve smaller portions, and include exercise. Your goals is to gradually lose weight and keep the excess pounds off by making a lifestyle change you can realistically live with, which doesn’t compromise the health and wellbeing of your body.
There are many exercise and diet programs and books that can help you lose weight. However, before you jump headfirst into a weight loss program, you should first visit your doctor and discuss your weight loss plans with them before you take action. Your doctor can provide you recommendations and lead you down the path to healthy weight loss.
Another good idea is to visit a licensed dietitian. This is a health care professional who specializes in advising people about meal planning and controlling their weight. They can help you make nutritional and healthy eating choices.
In addition, talk to others who are watching their weight. Find out what they are doing to help keep off the extra pounds. Exercising with others and introducing your family or friends to healthy meal choices, is an effective way to lose weight successfully, because it’s always easier to change when you’re not going it alone.