3 Incredible Ways Exercise Improves Your Gut Health
If there’s one thing experts in all health and science fields agree on, it’s that regular exercise in moderation is good for you. Regular exercise is linked to countless health benefits, including weight management, better blood pressure, improved cholesterol, and the prevention of diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis. Another benefit to that list? A healthy gut.
The “gut” refers to the areas of your body associated with digesting and processing food, as well as expelling waste. Organs associated with gut health include the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Keeping the gut running smoothly is critical to maintaining overall good health.
Here are three ways regular exercise can help you keep your gut healthy:
1. Exercise Promotes Gut Microbiota Diversity
Did you know that around 100 trillion microorganisms are alive in your body right now? These microbes, including bacteria, viruses, funguses, and other substances, are largely helpful and necessary for health and well-being. Microbes live throughout the body, with the largest concentrations located in the gut area. This concentration of microorganisms is called the gut microbiota. Research shows that having a diverse gut microbiota can help many areas of health, including immunity, nutrition, disease protection, and mental well-being.
A healthy, balanced diet helps diversify gut microbiota. But a balanced diet should be combined with exercise, as recent research has found that it can also help to diversify gut microbiota. For instance, one study conducted on 40 professional rugby players found that athletes had a much more varied gut microbiota than a control group of non-athletes. The study points out that diet also impacted the types of gut microbiota present in the rugby players. The athletes generally ate more fruits, vegetables, and proteins than control group participants. Researchers think gut microbiota is positively influenced by a combination of diet and exercise.
2. Exercise Prevents Constipation
Constipation occurs when you have only three or fewer bowel movements per week. This condition can often be uncomfortable and even painful. Common causes of constipation include not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, prescription drugs side effects, and physical inactivity.
Exercise is a great natural way to ease and prevent occasional constipation. Exercise acts as a natural laxative, speeding up the process of food moving through the digestive tract. Two studies conducted on women found that exercise can help ease constipation., Light to moderate exercise has also been found to help older adults, who may live more sedentary lifestyles.
To reap the benefits of exercise for constipation, you don’t need to work out too long or too hard. Some of the best exercises for constipation are brisk walking and yoga. These types of activities can get your blood – and digestion – moving.
3. Exercise Helps Ease and Prevent Digestive Conditions
Exercise can help to prevent uncomfortable digestive conditions. It can also help lessen symptoms for those already suffering from these problems. This may be because exercise promotes blood flow and helps food digest at a quicker pace. You may visit heartland nutrients to learn about probiotics which will help you with energy, digestion, and overall immune function.
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of the world’s population is affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This condition includes symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. A recent study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that regular, moderate exercise can help with IBS. Three to five times per week, study participants exercised for 20 or 30 minutes. At the end of the study, participants reported fewer IBS symptoms.
Exercise also has been linked to helping with fatty liver disease, a condition which affects an estimated 30 percent of people. One study from the University of Haifa in Israel found that resistance training led to reduced liver fat in study participants. Both aerobic exercise and resistance training are recommended for fatty liver disease sufferers.
Gallstones form when stored bile crystallizes in the gallbladder. Many people don’t know they have gallstones until feeling the pain of a gallbladder attack. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day most days has been shown to reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
Diverticulitis happens when pouches form in your digestive system’s lining and become inflamed. This condition can cause abdominal pain and nausea. Frequent exercise is recommended to help prevent diverticulitis. Exercise reduces the pressure on your colon and promotes healthy bowel movements.
Can Exercise Negatively Affect Your Gut?
Regular, moderate exercise is beneficial to gut health, but research has shown that extreme exercise can have a negative effect. Digestion normally happens when your body is at rest; when you exercise, your body shifts blood flow to your muscles and lungs. People who exercise for long periods of time, such as marathon runners, stop the process of digestion. When this happens, the body reacts negatively, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, and incontinence. Fortunately, these effects are not a problem for people who exercise in moderation.
Exercise is an amazing way to take care of your body, including your gut. The benefits of exercise permeate into all aspects of your health. It’s plain to see why doctors prescribe exercise for patients suffering from digestive complaints.