Exercise for a Happier Gut
When you think about gut health, exercise is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.
Gut health is more than just the foods you eat, rather, a lifestyle that helps in maintaining a healthy microbiome.
Let’s first start by reviewing some of the basics...
The collection of bacteria and fungi that resides in the gut, also known as the microbiome is responsible for nearly your entire immune system. The overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungi can cause digestive issues and complications. In fact, studies show that many digestive disorders can be caused by a lack of diversity of bacteria and fungi in the gut.
We generally think about supporting gut health through probiotics, prebiotics, and the foods we eat that provide the gut with ample nutrients for beneficial bacteria and fungi to thrive. However, in addition to diet, exercise plays an important role in maintaining optimal gut health.
According to a study, mice that exercised displayed a different composition of gut bacteria when compared to those that had little to no activity. In fact, the physically active mice contained more Lactobacillales bacteria which, in conjunction with Bifidobacterium, has been said to enhance nutrient absorption, lower cholesterol levels, and exerts an anti-inflammatory response.
This theory was further supported by another study where researchers concluded that athletes contained a more diverse microbiome which lack of microbiome diversify has been linked to dysfunction of the gut.
Exercise may also offer some relief to those suffering with digestive issues.
Researchers have found that physical activity can actually improve digestive symptoms and function.
While more research is needed to determine exactly how exercise impacts the microbiome, it is clear that an increase in physical activity may offer additional support in maintaining a healthy micriobiome.
Here are the top five ways to get more exercise in your daily routine:
1. Schedule it!
Pretend like you are scheduling a meeting.
Physically block the time out of your day to go for a walk, hit the gym, take a yoga class, whatever activity fits your routine. Chances are if you schedule time out for yourself or even send yourself a calendar invite, you are more likely to commit to making it happen!
2. Take the Stairs.
Opting to take the stairs is such a great idea because every little step counts!
It really is all about getting movement and activity into your daily routine so taking the stairs to your apartment, office or anywhere in your day all add up and make a difference.
3. HIIT Workouts.
High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT workouts are a great way to incorporate an intensive full body workout in a very short period of time.
Generally, most HIIT workouts require very little machinery and space so can be done virtually anywhere, at home, in a park or even in your hotel room all at at your convenience.
4. More Mini-Walks.
Make an effort to take smaller breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch and move your body…especially if you are sitting at a desk all day!
Small breaks of movement may also help boost productivity as well! Next time try walking to lunch at work or set a timer so that every so often you are getting up and moving.
5. Get Outside!
Spending time outdoors is an awesome way to incorporate extra activity not to mention calming and nourishing to the mind, body and soul. Finding a local park or trail to hike are excellent ways to get outside and incorporate daily movement.
Along with taking a probiotic, adding exercise into your routine is definitely a step in the right direction for a healthier, happier gut!
Additional Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757670/