We know that exercise is good for us, and we also know that it can have a positive impact on the gut microbiome. What we don’t know is exactly why that’s true.
Exercise raises core temperature
After an intense workout, your whole body feels the impact. And you can bet you’re going to sweat. Exercise raises your core temperature and reduces blood flow to the intestines, which actually could be a good thing. It may encourage direct contact between gut microbes and immune cells in the gut mucosal lining. And this can help shift the composition of gut microbes.
Exercise increases bile acid flow
It’s incredible what happens in the body when you get moving. You think you’re just running on a treadmill or lifting a kettlebell, but behind the scenes, your body is working even harder than you are. When you exercise, your body increases the flow of bile acids, and this can alter your gut’s microbial community. When bile acid flow increases, the gut becomes a more hostile environment for certain strains of bacteria. But we don’t know exactly how that impacts our health just yet. Researchers are still studying the impact of bile acids on gut health and its translation to overall health.
Exercise induces weight loss
When you exercise, you burn calories. And we already know this leads to weight loss, but there’s another layer to it that has to do with the gut microbiome.
A team of researchers used a fecal microbiome transplant to see how it impacted obesity. They took a group of exercising rats and transplanted their fecal matter into obese rats. They found that they lost weight, reduced fasting blood glucose levels, and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines. And while we’re still exploring the ramifications of such findings, it’s clear that the gut microbiome experiences positive weight-loss benefits when you exercise.
This may be why it’s easy to gain weight when you aren’t exercising, and it’s more difficult to gain weight when you are. Even when you take a short break from exercise, you can experience the weight loss benefits of exercising. But when you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle, it’s more challenging to get that weight-loss ball rolling. And when you think of it in terms of changing your gut microbiome, it makes sense. It takes time to make any major shifts in gut health, so it takes some time for weight loss to begin.
How to make the most of your efforts
Even though there’s a lot we have to learn about exercise and gut health, we know enough for it to be a worthwhile effort.
So if you’re starting an exercise plan to help restore gut health, you’re on the right track. But if you want to make the most out of your efforts, try the following tips to improve gut health.
Exercise daily — especially when you’re just getting started, try to exercise daily for at least 30 minutes to improve gut health. You may be able to cut back after a few weeks, but try to commit to a daily schedule at first.
Take a probiotic — Most probiotic supplements are transient, which means they will pass through your gut and not necessarily remain there. But best estimates are that probiotic supplements can alter your gut microbiome for about two weeks (or as long as you take them), and this can help shift the balance. When you’re looking for a probiotic, try to find one that’s dairy-free and free of allergens like the supplement GutConnect 365.
Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, and now we’re learning gut health is one of the biggest. If you want to be healthier, exercise is the way to go.