When it comes to gut health, what we put in our bodies (think prebiotics, probiotics, and a healthy diet) is a huge part of what determines our overall gut makeup. However, exercise has been recently shown to have a say in the state of our microbiome quality.
Keep Up The Cardio
A recent study (https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/exercise-cardio-gut-health) at San Francisco State University found that cardiovascular exercise could impact gut health. The study researched 20 men and 17 women. Participants were tested for their cardio fitness levels on the treadmill, while also keeping food logs and providing stool samples. Researchers looked at specific strains of bacteria, as well as the overall bacteria composition in the cells. These researchers focused on firmicutes and bacteroids.
The participants with the best cardiovascular fitness had higher firmicutes-to-bacteroids presence in the microbiome. Firmicutes are associated with the metabolic process that prevents bacteria from leaking into the body.
After these findings, study leader Ryan Durk suggests that exercise must be influential in our gut health and overall health.
Exercise should be a part of one’s healthy routine to increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut.
How Much Should I Exercise?
Simply saying exercise is good for the microbiome is a bit of a generalized statement. Too much heavy exercise can actually cause an increase of inflammation in the body. Extreme exercise also increases stress in the body. On the other hand, exercise that doesn’t boost your heart rate isn’t quite enough. You want cardio in the mix to get that heart rate up and boost endurance, but you also want to cross train to prevent injury and improve overall health. Restorative practices like yoga and meditation will also help with decreasing stress and lowering inflammation.
Try a routine of cardio exercise 3-4 times a week and strength or power yoga 2-3 times a week. Be sure to incorporate meditation and restorative yoga in as much as you’d like!