Will Exercise Boost My Gut Health?

If you workout at Habitat Health and Fitness in Lakeland, FL, to get into shape, you’ll often find a wonderful side effect. You feel better, too. Exercise can improve your health in a number of ways, including boosting your gut health. What does that mean? Good gut health involves many mechanisms. It’s about the peristalsis that moves food through the digestive tract, the health of the gut microbiome and the messaging system between the gut and the brain.

Exercise can improve how food moves through your digestive system.

When you workout, you increase circulation and blood flow to all parts of the body, including the digestive tract. Sending more oxygen and nutrients helps build healthy new cells and nourish existing ones. The action of the muscles when you workout also helps move food through your system, which can help prevent constipation and improve the symptoms of IBS—irritable bowel syndrome.

Exercise can relieve the symptoms of stress.

When you’re under stress, your body goes into the fight or flight response. That causes the body to slow blood flow to areas that aren’t necessary for survival at that moment, like digestion, and divert it to areas that are important for survival, like your arms and legs. When you workout, you burn off the hormones of stress, which returns your digestive system back to normal functioning. If it doesn’t return to normal functioning, it can cause changes that permanently damage the system.

Exercise increases the beneficial microbes in your digestive tract.

You’re never alone. You have trillions of microbes that accompany you every day. Most of them are part of your digestive system and called the gut microbiome with an estimated 300 to 500 different species that include both harmful and beneficial ones. Many gut health issues stem from lack of diversity of the gut microbiome. One way to improve it is with a healthy diet, but the other is through exercise. Exercise can improve that diversity. Studies on athletes show their microbiome is more diverse and other studies show that exercise can improve the microbiome and gut health.

  • A healthy gut microbiome affects more than digestion. It is linked to the reduction of conditions such as asthma, cancer, autism, celiac disease, diabetes, malnutrition, MS, heart disease, obesity and eczema.
  • A real boost to good gut health, besides exercise, is the elimination of food with added sugar from your diet. Highly processed food that contains little fiber should also be exchanged for whole foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • One study showed that after just exercising for six weeks, the amount of beneficial microbes increased in the gut, which improves everything from mental health to physical issues, like a weak immune system.
  • Lack of sleep and stress can affect the health of your gut. When you workout regularly, you not only burn off stress hormones, you sleep more soundly at night and improve your sleep patterns.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health and Fitness

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