3 Ways Exercise Improves Gut Health
You have already been constantly reminded of the benefits of physical activity and how it is necessary for healthy living. However, you might not know that your gut health will suffer if you are not getting regular physical activity.
Each year 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive (gut) disorder. In many cases, the causing factor of the diseases involves an element of lifestyle, whether nutrition or physical activity status.
In most cases, Western Medicine providers rarely point out the importance of gut health and the significance of lifestyle in overall health and wellness. That is a significant downfall. If more individuals were aware of how their lifestyle decisions affected their gut and overall wellness and were coached on correcting it, we would see less disease and more wellness.
"Gut health opens the door to true well being. You can use exercise and nutrition to unlock it."
The gut can control so many other factors of your mind and body, as it has a huge responsibility to maintain wellness. Gut health is responsible for several different processes, including:
The gut employs measures to strengthen the immune system and ensure the body is strong enough to fight against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
The gut contributes to mucosal barrier health and other protective measures to reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation in the body.
The gut connects with the brain in the gut-brain axis to constantly share connections responsible for emotions, sensory perception, stress management, and memory.
Once you improve your gut health, you can correct many other conditions. A fundamental way to make sure your gut is in good health is to exercise regularly. If you have ever been a sufferer of a gut condition (i.e., constipation) or want to make sure you maintain wellness throughout your lifespan, learn about the top 3 ways exercise can help you improve your gut health.
#1 - Promotes Bowel Regulation
Regular exercises promote complete bowel movements allowing you to get rid of waste. The movements in exercise activate peristalsis, a series of muscle contractions, which lowers the time it takes food to move through the large intestines. This regular and comfortable bowel movement promotes detoxification through the colon as the body gets rid of toxic waste.
If you experience constipation or gut discomfort often, it is probably because your intestinal tissues are inflamed. Regular light exercise can reduce oxidative stress that affects the gut. This activity relieves inflammation and supplies healthy intestinal tissues to support stool motility.
#2 - Enhances Healthy Weight Loss
The gut microbiota consists of many microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The balance of these organisms primarily makes up the health of the gut. Some of the most popular aspects of the microbiota are controlling our metabolism and regulating weight. When you have a well-balanced gut microbiota, you are at a lower risk of obesity and being overweight.
Exercise plays a huge role in balancing the microbiota by enriching the diversity of the microorganisms. It specifically encourages the balance between two prominent gut bacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, to contribute to lower weight and reduce the presence of unhealthy fat cells.
#3 - Improves the Gut Ecosystem
Exercise enriches the gut ecosystem and improves the Bacteroidetes-Firmicutes ratio, a significant powerhouse marker of gut health. With this enhanced ecosystem comes the expansion of good bacteria that serve as a barrier for intestinal mucous membranes, making them stronger and more resilient to mutation. The barrier bacteria can produce substances (SCFAs) that protect against gastrointestinal disease, colon cancer, and metabolic ailments.
Not to mention, a healthy gut ecosystem promotes a healthy nervous system. The gut is considered your 'second brain' because there is a connection between the central nervous system and the intestinal nervous system, linking the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with intestinal functions. Exercise helps rebuild the microbiome and rebalance dysbiosis to ensure a vital connection in the gut-brain axis.
With all that we mentioned, remember one thing -- be gentle with your gut. Your gut health is a vital processor of your everyday life. Therefore, you should be participating in the most beneficial lifestyle activities, such as exercise, to ensure the longevity of your gut health and overall wellness.
I understand that not everyone grew up with the opportunity to understand the benefits of physical activity and apply those healthy habits to their adult life. As a result, many adults don't know where to start when it comes to making time in their day to prioritize exercise.
I have plenty of tools and inspiration to help you find strategies for staying motivated, exercises to keep you excited, and moral support to work through your barriers.
My movement regimen is the perfect resource if you know you need to start but need more support. It will help you create new habits, reach new goals, and improve your overall quality of life.
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Davis C. D. (2016). The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity. Nutrition today, 51(4), 167–174. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000167
Magne, F., Gotteland, M., Gauthier, L., Zazueta, A., Pesoa, S., Navarrete, P., & Balamurugan, R. (2020). The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes Ratio: A Relevant Marker of Gut Dysbiosis in Obese Patients?. Nutrients, 12(5), 1474. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051474
Monda, V., Villano, I., Messina, A., Valenzano, A., Esposito, T., Moscatelli, F., Viggiano, A., Cibelli, G., Chieffi, S., Monda, M., & Messina, G. (2017). Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2017, 3831972. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3831972