We have all heard ‘Follow Your GUT’.. it is a REAL thing! More and more research supports the GUT Microbiome as the most important PATH to health and wellness.
Our gut is made up of trillions of bacteria that help our bodies do everything from synthesizing vitamins to regulating our fat metabolism and influencing inflammation. Keeping our gut microbiome diverse helps our bodies in a variety of ways. For starters, our gut health is a key determinant in preventing obesity. Studies show that the wrong mix or lack of diversity in our microbes can lay the foundation for weight problems, cardiometabolic diseases, diabetes, and general wellness- including energy levels, sleep patterns, immune response, vitality, etc.
Exercise Your Gut to Health
There are some easy ways to improve the diversity of our microbiome: eating a diverse diet, getting a good night’s sleep, lowering stress levels, and spending time in nature might all have a positive effect. It’s also helpful to avoid a highly processed food diet which has been shown to reduce the diversity of our microbiome.
Exercise is also one of the more recent habits being studied that can affect our microbiome diversity.
“Short chain fatty acids are a type of fatty acids that are primarily produced by microbes and have been shown to modify our metabolism, immunity and other physiological processes,” adds Jacob Allen, an assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Illionis who works alongside Woods. [Source]
There are studies showing that moderate to vigorous exercise like running, cycling and resistance training for as little as 18-32 minutes could make a difference in the diversity of bacteria in the guts as well as better physical and mental health.
Another small study in 2019 found that participants who did high-intensity interval training (30 seconds with four minutes of recovery) or moderate continuous training (40-60 minutes of cycling) three times per week over a two week period increased bacteria that plays a role in breaking down sugars and proteins and induce the immune system into producing anti-inflammatory molecules inside the gut. The researchers behind this study also note that their work has shown that exercise also reduced gut bacteria that have been associated with obesity.
Exercise shapes your mind, body, and gut.
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If your gut is not healthy, you will not be healthy.
Sonja Stilp, M.D. is a mother, athlete and the founder of RISE. Dr. Stilp is board-certified and fellowship trained with advanced training in regenerative medicine and human optimization. She is the medical director at Golden BioHack.