How to Exercise With an Ulcer

Girl in the gym
A woman is stretching on a yoga mat. (Image: YekoPhotoStudio/iStock/Getty Images)

An ulcer — also referred to as a stomach ulcer or peptic ulcer — is a sore that forms in the stomach or in the upper portion of your small intestines. Ulcers occur when the acid your stomach uses for digestion begins to eat away at the lining of your stomach and small intestines. Ulcers can be caused by stress, overeating, consuming spicy foods and certain conditions of the stomach; they can be painful. One way of controlling your ulcers and reducing the risk of developing another ulcer is to participate in regular exercise.

Step 1

Visit your doctor. He can make sure you are healthy enough for exercise as well as provide you with advice on exercising with an ulcer.

Step 2

Exercise regulary. To reap the health benefits of exercise — including weight maintenance and prevention of disease — plan to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days per week, the National Academy of Sports Medicine advises.

Step 3

Participate in cardiovascular exercise. Swimming, cycling, jogging, jumping rope, aerobics, dancing, gardening, team sports like basketball, brisk walking and running are all forms of cardiovascular exercise. Choose one or several activities you enjoy.

Step 4

Relieve stress. Yoga and Pilates, for example, focus on both mind and body to help improve your strength, flexibility and state of mind. Take a yoga class or Pilates class to help clear your mind and relieve stress while reaping the benefits of strength and flexibility training.

Step 5

Engage in strength training. Biceps curls, pushups, pullups, triceps extensions, leg presses and shoulder presses can help burn calories while strengthening and toning your body. Perform upper- and lower-body exercises. Avoid core exercises if they cause you ulcer-related pain. Participate in 30-minute strength-training sessions two to three days each week.

Tip

In addition to exercise, lifestyle changes can help reduce the occurrence of ulcers. Consider removing spicy foods from your diet, reducing alcohol intake or quitting smoking. Certain medications may also lead to ulcers. Talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking and for recommendations about lifestyle changes.

Warning

Ulcers can cause heartburn, pain, gas and burping. You may experience these symptoms as you exercise. If symptoms are severe, contact your doctor.

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