Exercise for Gut Health

What you need to know…

We all know the importance of exercise, particularly for heart, muscular and bone health. As it turns out it’s also good for gut health! We recently read a well-researched article on Well + Good’s website – ‘How Exercise Improves Gut Health’. Here are some highlights from the article we’d like to share:

Exercise Regulates + Stabilizes the Gut Microbiome

While researchers continue to study the gut and the factors that influence its health, the data available so far supports the idea that your sweat sessions can help regulate and stabilize your (gut) microbiome.

Moderate & Regular Exercise is Best

Low or moderate-intensity exercise, for instance, can reduce transient stool time—meaning, it gets things flowing to help you poop. This limits the amount of contact between the GI tract and pathogens in your waste. Because of this protective nature, it appears to reduce the risk of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticulosis.

Strenuous Exercise Requires Special Attention

Strenuous exercise on the other hand can actually work against gut health since it triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. If you’re working out hard enough that it’s difficult to carry on a conversation, your body perceives this as increased stress and prioritizes blood flow to the organs required to survive, hitting the pause button on digestion. (You may even notice this leads to certain digestive issues.) Vigorous exercise of course has its own benefits, but it’s important to prioritize rest between sessions because a lack of recovery can affect the health of the gut microbiome, its ability to remove waste, and the permeability of its lining over time.

Food Choices are Still Important!

That doesn’t mean your gym sessions are all it takes to cultivate a healthy gut. While studies show that exercise fosters a unique microbiome independent of diet, it is still important to maintain well-balanced nutrition: Stock up on prebiotics with high-fiber choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, and make sure you’re regularly eating probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, and pickled vegetables—these contain live microbiota that can help support your microbiome.

Check out the full article by Chelsea Rae Bourgeois on WellandGood.com