Improved physical health means improved gut health too!

April 5, 2022

The physical effects of exercise are often the most obvious – after all it’s called ‘getting into shape’ for a reason. 

We are all now more aware than ever of the great benefit that training can have on our mental health and general wellbeing. Something which has been hitherto overlooked however, is the fact that exercise also improves the health of gut bacteria and the benefits of this in itself can be life-changing.

A quick guide to gut bacteria

Our gut, or gastrointestinal tract to give it its official name, runs from our mouth to our bottom and includes the gullet, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon and bowels. 

This quite remarkable passage through the body is inhabited by a wide range of microorganisms which offer protective, structural and metabolic functions. They also provide nutrients, take part in the body’s signalling network, support the immune system and regulate water and food absorption. Essentially, these gut bacteria are the unseen good guys, making sure that our bodies are working at 100%, even as we sleep.

The link between gut health and exercise

Recent studies suggest that regular physical activity can not only enrich the diversity of the bacteria within our gut but can also increase the number of the most beneficial species in the mix. The overall effect to the host (that’s us) is an improvement in health and a welcome boost to disease prevention.

It is already widely recognised that a disruption in the balance of the microbiome (the collective name for the community of bacteria living in our guts) can contribute to disorders such as obesity, diabetes, bowel disease and perhaps even poor mental health too. The fact that exercise protects this very precious balance means that your training programme is keeping you healthy on the inside as well as healthy on the outside.

Eating healthily was originally thought to be the only answer

The link between good gut health and eating certain types of healthy food such as fibre and dairy products has long been understood. These food types, as well as live culture supplements, are known to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Whilst the ‘good foods’ take care of the numbers, exercise has been shown to modify the types of bacteria living in our gut, moving the balance in favour of the species which offer us the greatest benefits - including some which protect the gut lining, reduce inflammation and minimise the chance of developing diabetes. 

Your Personal Trainer knows you inside out

When I put a Personal Training programme together for my clients it often includes a nutrition plan as I know healthy eating is an essential part of getting in shape and reaching fitness goals. The fact that the exercise itself is providing the body with yet more goodness from the inside is, I believe, a very good thing. 

If you’re ready to undertake a training regime which will provide a real health-boost and result in an amped-up level of protection from disease, then get in contact with me today. 

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