Gut Health and Exercise: Is there a Connection?

The manner in which we digest and derive nutrients from our food and its overall impact on our health is a complex multifactorial topic. We have an ecosystem in our guts that harbours trillions of bacteria called gut microbes. These hard-working little fellas contribute in a myriad of ways.

  1. During exercise, we have nutrient requirements that are contributed to from this microbial ecosystem, thereby impacting our athletic output.  In fact, it’s a two-way street. A recent study shows regular exercise for 6 weeks can boost our microbes as well. Gut health and exercise are linked and can help each other!
  2. During intense exercise we produce a substance called lactic acid, which is typically responsible for the ‘burning’ sensation we get in our lungs and muscles. Better gut health means lactate is metabolized (used up) better and therefore shown to reduce time to exhaustion in marathon runners.
  3. Exercise can improve the diversity of gut microbes which can aid in carbohydrate metabolism thereby facilitating fat loss.
  4. These microbes help with keeping properly hydrated during exercise by making better use of the water we ingest.  Subsequently, preventing heat stroke and hazards associated with overexertion during exercise.
  5. Probiotics taken through supplementation can improve our gut ecosystem and have an overall positive impact on athletic performance and recovery.
  6. Gut health also contributes to hormone regulation, therefore, impacting our sleep quality which is crucial for proper recovery and restoration in all our daily activities.

Overall, the importance of optimizing our gut health can not be understated.  More and more research is supported this growing area of nutrition.  If you want help improving your gut health reach out to your Preventous dietitian and fitness experts today!

Colin Davis
Personal Trainer

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