Exercise Can Boost Your Microbiome

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Exercise is good for you for all kinds of reasons; it helps lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of inflammatory disease, improve your mood and has recently been shown to affect the bacteria in your gut microbiome.

However, most studies have been conducted with mice, and it’s not clear what the effects are in humans.

Now a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has investigated the effects of exercise on the human gut microbiome.

The study was designed to isolate the effects of exercise from other factors that could influence gut bacteria. It involved 18 lean and 14 sedentary obese participants.

All of the participants maintained their normal diets but were put on an exercise program consisting of up to an hour of cardiovascular activities, three times per week for six weeks. Each participant's microbiome was sampled before and after the program.

The results of the study were fascinating. Exercise increased the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs – butyrate and propionate) in the lean, but not in the obese participants.

Six weeks after the program ended, these positive SCFA increases had declined following the participants return to a sedentary lifestyle.

In a nutshell, the microbiomes of lean and obese people respond to exercise differently. Now researchers need to figure out why.

Oh, and you need to keep exercising to maintain the benefits.