Weight Lifting and GERD

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Everyone on here (myself includes) seems to be under the impression that you should exercise. But, can exercise (especially intense, heavy lifting) cause GERD or aggravate symptoms? I ask because everything was going swimmingly with digestion up until last week when I started lifting heavy for the first time in about a year. Bam! All of a sudden food was coming up again, and heartburn can back with a vengeance! My chiropractor said I had a slight hiatal hernia, and treated me for that (not sure how reliable that source is) but I was never diagnosed with one by my GI--although, to play devil's advocate against myself, the chiro did "fix" it before the endoscopy. Anyways, can heavy lifting affect GERD? Should I go back to moderate/low weight and high reps?



on December 22, 2012
at 05:45 AM

You might want to add more NOW Betaine HCL to the super enzymes. I hear if you don't feel a slight burning then it's not working: http://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd



on July 10, 2012
at 07:31 AM

Taking the NOW Super Enzymes for that, in fact. Most likely that's why I keep burping (fermenting food not getting out quick enough).



on July 10, 2012
at 07:20 AM

have you explored whether or not you have low stomach acid (a common cause of reflux)?

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3 Answers


on January 05, 2013
at 02:37 PM

Do you eat or drink just before you workout? I generally do my workouts fasted, having not eaten anything for 4-6 hours. I also try to limit my water intake for the 30-45 minutes before the workout too to make sure I don't have a stomach full of water when working out. The stories I hear of people puking at the crossfit gym usually involve people eating a big meal just beforehand or drinking too much water. This isn't the same as GERD but I think it's important that your GI tract is not too busy when working out.



on December 08, 2012
at 03:17 AM

I wonder myself about certain exercises and hiatal hernia.

According to wiki: "Incidence of hiatal hernias increases with age; approximately 60% of individuals aged 50 or older have a hiatal hernia"

Any increased pressure/stress within the abdomen could be deemed a risk factor.

And you may not even know when/if you have a hiatal hernia,
"In most cases however, a hiatal hernia does not cause any symptoms. The pain and discomfort that a patient experiences is due to the reflux of gastric acid, air, or bile. While there are several causes of acid reflux, it does happen more frequently in the presence of hiatal hernia." (source: wiki again).


on December 07, 2012
at 07:17 PM

I was at the docs today because i've been having really bad digestion and gas and it's flared up really bad the last two weeks. Anyway i was getting acid and the doc said it could be caused by a lot of exertion and bending and so on. I told him i was lifting heavy weights and he said that's the classic thing that causes it. I told him i enjoy lifting weights so wasn't gonna quit because of that and he just kinda shrugged it off by saying i might need to make changes with it!

So it can cause the symptoms. The thing has flared up worse in me since i started heavy dumbell rows 5 x 5 at about 45KG's which is quite a bit heavier than i did in the past. To get stronger you have to lift heavy so it's a conundrum really. Wimpy weights and high reps don't build real strength.

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