Ambitions to start and adhere to a new exercise routine is a noble wellness goal in anyone’s book. We know that exercise benefits weight loss, disease prevention, and mental health. But what about how exercise improves gut health?
Study after study is beginning to bring to light the importance of gut health on all areas of wellbeing. The gut acts as another organ, influencing other body systems and integrating them into different internal functions.
Here, we’ll explore three specific ways that exercise improves gut health:
- Exercise improves gut health by promoting the growth of good gut bacteria:
In a recent study, researchers found that exercise stimulates the growth of bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria produce butyrate, a fatty acid that regenerates and repairs the gut. Butyrate also repairs the lining of the gut and can reduce inflammation, which could prevent other gut-centric diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. This shift in the gut microbiome in response to exercise can also protect against diminishing metabolic functions and the onset of obesity.
- Exercise improves gut health by contributing to a diverse gut microflora:
Exercise is being shown to be a contributing factor in gut microbiome diversity. Even light exercise just three hours a week displays an increase in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Roseburia hominis which link to a reduction in inflammation. As well as increases in Akkermansia muciniphila, which is associated with greater metabolic health and a lower body mass index (BMI).
Additionally, the study of gut microbiota in athletes depicts that they have a very different gut microflora makeup than those of the same age and sex who are sedentary.
- Exercise improves gut health by aiding in digestion and gut function:
Regular exercise is shown to better regulate the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract. Exercise keeps organs operating optimally and stimulates blood circulation to keep it flowing to the proper places for improved digestion. Along with that, exercise lessens and even counteracts some of the adverse effects of a high-fat diet by increasing A. muciniphila bacteria, which adheres to the lining of the stomach. The adhesion of this bacteria promotes the secretion of mucus in the intestinal digestive tract. This mucus secretion aids in smoother digestion as well as protects against the loss of good bacteria from the intestinal lining.
There can be a lot of questions when starting a new habit like exercising, but one query of focus should be, “how exercise improves gut health?” While exercise is about feeling better and increasing confidence, it is also about the protection and regulation of healthy gut microbiota. The benefits of exercise on improving gut health and function are more than skin deep.