How does physical exercise influence your gut health and gut bacteria?

3 minutes

Key takeaways

  • Physical exercise not only benefits overall health but also influences the gut microbiota, which is crucial for digestion and immune function.
  • Exercise can improve gut microbial diversity, increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, regulate the immune system, and support gut motility.
It’s well-established that physical exercise is good for health. With longer days and more sunshine during summer, we're naturally more active, enjoying long walks and more time outdoors. With the warmer weather, we’re even more motivated to exercise.

While we all know the benefits of physical exercise, one thing that’s not as commonly known is that exercise also influences the gut microbiota – that is, the collection of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes.

Why is this important? The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in digestion, immune function, and overall health.

3 ways physical exercise can influence your gut microbiota:

Although further research is needed to understand the connection between exercise and gut health fully, early findings suggest that exercise might improve the gut microbiota, which in turn could improve our health. Here’s how:

1. Physical activity has been shown to alter the composition of the gut microbiota by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs play an important role in maintaining gut health by helping regulate gut motility and the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies show that regular exercise increases gut microbial diversity, which means a greater variety of types of good bacteria found in the gut. A more diverse gut microbiota is generally considered to be a healthy microbiota.

2. Regular exercise helps regulate the immune system and, of course, a healthy immune system can help prevent infections and maintain a good balance of bacteria in the gut.

Researchers have hypothesized that exercise, which increases the circulation of immune cells in your blood, can help you fight infectious bacteria and viruses. In some small studies, researchers have also found that muscle contractions and movements release signaling proteins called cytokines, which direct immune cells to find and fight off infections.

3. Physical exercise supports gut motility by promoting the contraction of smooth muscles in the intestinal walls. Exercise also stimulates the release of digestive hormones such as gastrin and motilin, which help regulate gut motility.

← Older Post Newer Post →

How nourishing your forgotten organ can help to beat the bloat

How nourishing your forgotten organ can help to beat the bloat

What are the 7 most important organs of your body?Most people would have no trouble listing the major players in the game: the brain, the...

Read more
Probiotics: Your new travel companion

Probiotics: Your new travel companion

Traveling the world can be enriching, but it can also take a toll on our digestive system. Changes in diet, water, and sleeping patterns can...

Read more
Building your baby's first home: How a healthy gut during pregnancy benefits you and your child

Building your baby's first home: How a healthy gut during pregnancy benefits you and your child

The bond between mother and baby begins even before birth The journey to motherhood is as extraordinary as it is transformative. The countless changes a...

Read more
Probiotics and your oral health

Probiotics and your oral health

What is the one thing that is understood by every language, every culture, and every civilization? A smile. Smiling is more than a way of...

Read more
The exciting and unexpected relationship between Antibiotics and Probiotics

The exciting and unexpected relationship between Antibiotics and Probiotics

In most things in life, anti is against, and pro is for. And in an age where we are given so many choices, making decisions...

Read more