Should You Diet and Exercise If You Have a Hiatal Hernia?

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia, including acid indigestion and heartburn, can be controlled through lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and activities, according to WebMD. Overweight individuals who suffer from symptoms of acid reflux due to a hiatal hernia can benefit from losing weight, which includes a healthy diet.

Diet is a key factor in managing the symptoms of a hiatal hernia, and avoiding citrus fruits, fried foods, chocolate, carbonated beverages and heavily spiced foods can help control or alleviate heartburn, states WebMD. A healthy eating plan emphasizes lean meats, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Foods such as bananas, broccoli, rice, pretzels and fish are low in acidity, making them less likely to be problematic.

The right type of exercise is important, and vigorous exercise can make symptoms of heartburn worse, states the New York Times. Engaging in less agitating forms of exercise such as using a stationary bike is preferable to movements such as running and jumping. Taking the right precautions and following a schedule of a couple of moderate workout sessions per week helps reduce the risk of heartburn. Body position plays a role as well, and exercises that require a prone position, including bench pressing and leg curls, increase the risk of acid reflux.

Avoiding abdominal exercises and refraining from wearing anything restrictive around the waist are also recommended, according to Healthline. Individuals shouldn't lift heavy objects alone and should avoid bending or lying down after a meal.