Gut health has become one of the biggest trends in recent times due to increasing research in the scientific field. Unlike other trends in the nutrition world, this one is based on quite promising scientific research and is definitely something for everyone to consider.  While it has become quite common knowledge that you can improve your gut microbiota through diet, as you saw in our last article, the benefits of exercise have received little attention in current media.

Effects of exercise on gut microbiota

Exercise has the ability to alter our gut bacteria even without dietary changes. Studies comparing the gut health of athletes to sedentary individuals have observed athletes to possess significantly greater microbial diversity, suggesting that physical activity and fitness have a large impact on gut health – but does this mean you need to be an athlete to reap the benefits? Fortunately, no! The key point here is not to remain sedentary. Research suggests that exercising at a moderate intensity increases the number and diversity of bacteria in the gut, improving our overall health and reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases. However, the catch is that this needs to be maintained regularly. Unfortunately when you stop exercising your gut bacteria will return to their pre-existing state.

Our easy everyday tips to become more active and less sedentary:

1.   When given the option, take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator

2.   Get off public transport a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way

3.   Park further away from your destination

4.   Walk to your coworker to chat to them rather than sending an email or text

5.   Use your lunch break to take a stroll outside

6.   Pace while on the phone and make a conscious effort when sedentary during the day to pace around

7.   Do housework such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, mowing the lawn or gardening

We can now add improvements to gut microbial health to the extensive list of benefits that exercise boasts. If there were only one reason to become more active, the health benefits would definitely be it!

Article Written by Katherine Christie, Exercise Physiologist –  BSc ExPhys