Physical exercise is essential for prevent a good number of chronic diseases. The positive effects of physical activity on the musculoskeletal system, the lungs, the heart and circulatory system, immunity and the nervous system are well known. Now, a study confirms that physical exercise is also beneficial for the state of the digestive microbiota.
150 minutes a week for your intestinal microbiota
The research from the University of Calgary (Australia), shows that 150 minutes of physical exercise a week are enough (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) to produce an increase in the diversity and number of beneficial bacteria that inhabit the intestine.
Athletes are often skinny and follow strict diet and training programs; these factors alone may explain why they have healthier microbiotas than the population average, explains lead researcher Srhushti Shah, an expert in nutrition, metabolism and genetics. For this reason, scientists decided to find out if exercise alone could improve people’s microbiota, regardless of other factors.increased both the richness and diversity of gut microbiomes
After creating a large cohort of middle-aged participants, the study was able to determine that physical activity of moderate duration
compared to study participants who exercised less. The investigation was able to specify that the duration of the exercise session is more important than the intensity.
Body weight influences the effect of exercise
On the other hand, the results show that the changes in the gut microbiome were not the same in all people. People with a normal weight experienced better results compared to overweight people.
Being overweight exerts its own influences on the gut microbiome independent of exercise. The bad eating habits They prevent exercise from developing its full beneficial effect.
It’s clear that exercise is very important for gut health, but the findings reinforce the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. You don’t have to be an athlete who trains many hours a week to achieve this: half an hour a day is enough.
What is the intestinal microbiota?
The intestinal microbiota is the set of microorganisms that inhabit the intestine and that perform important functions in the body such as the digestion and absorption of nutrients, the regulation of the immune system and the production of some vitamins. A healthy microbiota contributes to general good health and reduces inflammation that can be at the root of a variety of diseases.
A healthy gut microbiota is characterized by the presence of a large number of beneficial bacteria that strengthen the immune system, decrease the amount of bad bacteria and reduce the frequency of the appearance of diseases. In addition, it produces short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which is the main source of energy for colon cells, has anticancer effects, and positively influences glucose and fat metabolism.
How can the state of the intestinal microbiota be improved?
In addition to exercise, other measures can be taken to improve the state of the microbiota:
To improve the state of the intestinal microbiota, it is important to feed the microorganisms that compose it with varied diets rich in vegetable fiber. In addition, it is recommended to consume fermented foods, such as yogurt or kefir, which provide live bacteria. Especially recommended foods are oats, crushed flax seeds, legumes, asparagus, cabbage and vegetables and fruits in general.
On the other hand, a diet with Too much poor quality fats (refined and artificial), added sugars, and ultra-processed foods can decrease microbial diversity. It is convenient to avoid this type of food.
It has been shown that stress, lack of sleep and the consumption of unnecessary drugs can negatively affect the microbiota.