Exercise is a really important part of our every day efforts to be healthy. There are many reasons to exercise, but what affect does exercise improve gut health? Does exercise help our gut health?
Find out more in this article as we talk you through our advice around using exercise to help your gut.
How much exercise should we be doing?
According to the NHS, the recommended amount of exercise for adults aged between 19-64 is approximately ‘150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and at 2 days of strength exercises ‘ (8).
But What counts as moderate exercise?
Well some examples include walking briskly, playing in doubles tennis and basketball. Even things such as mowing the lawn will can count as moderate exercise!
What Are The Benefits Of Exercise?
Exercise can have great effects on your body and your health. Although it is advised to gradually increase your amount of exercise so as not to cause yourself injury and also really Important to stick to your own limits.
The health benefits of exercise include reducing the risk of several diseases and health conditions, some of these include reducing the risk of developing; osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers amongst others (3, 10, 4) .
Does Exercise Improve Gut Health?
More recent evidence has shown that exercise may also have a positive impact on our gut as well, in particular on our gut microbiota (5).
Gut microbiota are microbial cells which live within our intestines, and effect different aspects and functions of our body including metabolism and immunity (1, 7). They have also been linked to digestive tract conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (6).
How Does Exercise Improve Gut Health?
Other studies show that improvements in your gut microbiota through exercise may improve your metabolism and also the rate of energy expenditure (e.g energy or calories burnt) while you are exercising (7,9).
The Bottom Line
So what does this all mean? Will exercise improve gut health?
At present, we do not have enough research to give out specific advice for exercise to improve gut health. Further research is required to determine whether the changes in gut bacteria are associated just to exercise alone as it is likely that diet plays a role as well (2,7,9).
However, the research we do have, is suggesting a positive relationship between doing exercise and having healthy gut bacteria.
The government already have recommendations to suggest you do 75 – 150minutes of exercise / week to improve other aspects of your health. So this would be a good place to start, while we wait for that other research.
Written by Student Dietitian Bethany Florey