A recent article in The Globe and Mail opened as follows: “Chances are, you’re already familiar with the benefits of regular exercise. It elevates mood, reduces stress, sharpens mental focus and improves sleep.
Exercising regularly also guards against high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and depression. And it helps protect your bones and joints.
According to a new study from the University of Calgary, the health advantages of exercise also include improving your gut microbiome, the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that reside in your large intestine.
What’s more, the results suggest that you don’t have to work out hard to bolster your gut microbiome. The key, it seems, is exercising consistently.”
Gut microbes, it turns out, not only help our bodies extract energy from the food we consume, they also work to regulate such things as “immune function, metabolism, appetite, glucose control and inflammation, as well as other bodily processes.”
How Do We Know All This?
The research, published in the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (The FASEB Journal) was based on a study of the gut microbes of 350 middle-aged participants, average age of 57, recruited from Alberta’s Tomorrow Project.
In summary, the findings concluded:
- People who engaged in moderate physical activity (150 to 500 minutes a week) had richer and more diverse microbiomes compared to those who exercised less. This was true regardless of body weight.
- Exercise duration was more important than exercise intensity in improving the gut microbiome.
- Regular exercise – combined with maintaining a healthy weight – can enhance the composition and function of the gut microbiome.
- A healthy diet – especially whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils – is crucial for building a robust microbiome.
Do You Have The Guts To Stay Healthy?
A healthy diet, a reasonable level of exercise and the avoidance of excessive alcohol consumption are fundamental components to good gut health. A healthy gut is good for you. So, what are you waiting for?