· By Caroline Beckman
How Does Exercise Affect Your Gut Health
Reading Time: 2.5 min
Support your gut health and strengthen your immunity to hit your fitness and wellness goals.
Over the past few years, research has prompted new trends based on ancient practices like intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets. At this point in the new year, it seems like everyone has tried at least one new food kick.
I’m here to tell you that you may be missing one ancient “x factor” in your wellness plan: bacteria. The importance of good bacteria in and on your body has caused the phrase “gut health” to show up everywhere we turn. Your gut is the group of organs that includes your mouth, stomach, liver, intestines and colon. More than 70 percent of your immune system lives there. So if you’re interested in boosting your immunity — and fitness — keep reading because I’ve got some insight for you.
If you're interested in boosting your immunity, start with your gut.
Exercise and Your Gut
Today, 74 percent of Americans are battling some sort of gut-related ailment, and only half will bring it up to their doctors. This has contributed to the booming popularity growth of probiotics and prebiotics. Beyond what and how we eat, studies now show exercise also plays a part in a healthy gut. Yes, taking a daily probiotic will help, but targeted workouts are also key.
In a recent study conducted by researchers, it has been discovered that engaging in cardio exercise for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week, can have a significant impact on the diversity of beneficial bacteria residing in the gut. This finding sheds light on the intricate relationship between physical activity and the gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome refers to the complex community of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. These microorganisms play a crucial role in maintaining overall health by aiding in digestion, synthesizing essential nutrients, and supporting the immune system. The composition and diversity of the gut microbiome have been linked to various aspects of human health, including metabolism, mental well-being, and even the risk of certain diseases.
Physical activity boosts the production of substances like short-chain fatty acids, which fuel good bacteria. Exercise also affects gut movement and blood flow, which can impact the gut microbiome.
Doing regular cardio exercise can improve heart health, and well-being, and also help maintain a diverse and balanced gut microbiome.
Here are three important points to remember about exercise and gut health:
1. Exercise boosts well-being by improving gut health.
Our bodies are made up of more bacteria than human cells. We have about 40 trillion bacterial cells compared to 30 trillion human cells. In a recent study, those with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had more diverse bacterial populations in their gut than those with lower cardiorespiratory fitness. A better-balanced gut leads to improved overall health and well-being.
2. Consistency is required for sustainable results.
When the experiment (and exercise) concluded, researchers found that participants’ microbiomes reverted back to their pre-exercise condition, which simply confirms the sensitivity and responsiveness of the human body, gut included. Stay consistent with exercise at least three times per week.
3. Too much exercise can affect your gut.
As with most things in life, when it comes to exercise, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Too much exercise can stress the body and lead to leaky gut, inflammation and even depression. Our intestinal barrier is only one layer thick and vulnerable to damage. If this barrier is compromised, it allows for food particles to permeate the gut and wreak havoc.
You can work to balance your gut by exercising in moderation, eating wholesome foods, getting a good night’s sleep and taking a high-quality probiotic to balance your bacteria.
Here’s to a healthier gut and happier you this year!
Written by Caroline Beckman for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.