The gut microbiome is receiving significant attention due to its role in overall health. Maybe you’re already taking probiotics and eating more plant-based foods to strengthen your gut. But there’s a lesser-known — and equally important — step you should take to boost your gut health: exercise.
The gastroenterologist Dr. In a recent article from the Cleveland Clinic (USA), Christine Lee explains the role exercise plays in intestinal health.
How exercise promotes gut health
“Exercise is one of the most powerful ways to strengthen your gut microbiome,” says Dr. Lee. “It’s probably the best ‘medicine’ we have for the gut.” Exercise improves gut health because it:
Improves intestinal motility (ability to move) Your digestive tract has its own rhythm that keeps everything moving. If he is too fast, you may have to go to the bathroom frequently. Too slow and you’ll get bloated, sore, and nauseous. Through regular exercise, your intestines will find their perfect rhythm.
“Your digestive tract is a muscle, and moving your body is good for all of your muscles, including your intestines,” explains Dr. Lee. “When we are physically inactive, the muscles in our intestines also become less active. Over time, they lose their natural coordination and strength.”
Promotes Blood Flow During exercise, your heart pumps harder and faster to deliver extra blood and oxygen to your muscles. Some of it also goes directly into your intestines.
“Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, including the intestines and other organs,” says Dr. Lee. “When your digestive tract has better blood flow (or good blood flow), it becomes stronger, healthier, and better able to maintain the proper balance of healthy bacteria.”
Strengthens the digestive muscles Physical activity ensures great muscle tone, and it’s not just about the biceps and abs. When you are in shape, your intestinal muscles also become stronger and more efficient. This helps to eliminate unwanted waste products more completely.
“Many people think that because they have regular or frequent bowel movements, they are not constipated,” notes Dr. Lee. “But you may be walking frequently because your colon isn’t emptying completely. You may have to go several times to have a bowel movement.”
Exercise makes the contractions of your intestines – known as peristalsis – stronger and more effective.
“Higher quality peristalsis means your bowel can empty more effectively,” she continues. “It’s an important part of your digestive health because it removes waste from your body before it can disrupt your microbiome.”
Keeping Your Metabolism Healthy Your metabolism is your body’s process of converting calories into energy. Physical activity helps you maintain or speed up this process, which promotes digestion and better balance in your gut.
“When your metabolism slows, your body has to choose which functions are more important,” explains Dr. Lee. “For your body, digestion has a lower priority than vital organs such as the heart, lungs and brain,” says the doctor.
“Your intestines are deprived of some energy and may experience overgrowth of harmful bacteria, bacterial translocation (moving bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to other tissues or organs), and complications due to slower motility (such as megacolon, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis). lead.”
Prepares you for sleep Getting enough good sleep is good for your gut. If you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, exercise could be the natural remedy you need.
“Regular exercise can lead to better sleep overall and improve some sleep disorders,” says Dr. Lee. “When you sleep, your body, including the intestines, regenerates, breaks down waste, and strengthens your immune system.”
How to train for a healthier gut
The benefits of exercise for gut health are impressive. And there’s great news: You don’t always have to join a gym or complete a strenuous program to achieve positive results.
“The key to training is to start at your own level,” says Dr. Lee. “If you haven’t exercised for a long time, a brisk walk may be helpful for you. If you already exercise regularly, you need to make sure you’re doing something powerful that gets your heart pumping.”
Workouts that are good for your gut
What type of exercise do you need to do for a healthier gut? Do any type of aerobic exercise that you enjoy and that fits your schedule and fitness level.
“People hear the word ‘aerobics’ and think they need to take a class, but that’s not the case,” says Dr. Lee clearly. “Raking leaves, vacuuming the living room, mowing the lawn, or dancing to your favorite music can all be aerobic exercise.”
How do you know if your workout is at the right intensity? Look out for these signs:
- Your heart rate is faster than normal.
- You can talk, but you can’t sing.
- You start sweating.
How often do you train?
Ideally, you should exercise for 30 minutes five days a week. But if you can’t achieve this goal, don’t give up. Any amount of activity is better than none.
“Many people get frustrated when they miss a few days of training,” says Dr. Lee. “But the key is to move as much as possible, no matter what that looks like.”
If you’re just starting out, avoid overuse injuries. “Don’t do too much, too soon – this can strain or injure the muscles,” warns Dr. Lee. “As long as your heart rate is high, you are at the right intensity. Don’t go beyond your limits or you could set yourself back.”
Be careful with heart disease
If you have heart or lung disease, talk to your doctor before starting any type of physical activity.
“It’s usually a good thing to increase your heart rate, but it may not be safe for certain heart conditions,” warns Dr. Lee. “Your doctor can help you decide what type of exercises you should do.”
No matter what exercise you choose, your body – including your gut – will thank you.
“Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health, including your gut health,” affirms Dr. Lee. “Almost everyone can do something to feel better, and it doesn’t have to cost anything.” (ad)