Person walking

Exercise and the good gut link.

Exercise why you need it besides the usual benefits of lowering your blood pressure, reducing the rate of diabetes Type 2, or trimming down the excess weight; instead looking at the role of exercise on your gut health.  I’ve touched on how exercise can increase the production of butyrate producing bacteria, which can have a positive effect on the barrier function of our gut. In turn this can improve leaky gut, it’s symptoms, and can decrease chronic inflammation in the body.

Are you overdoing it?

On the flip side, overdoing it on the exercise front can be detrimental to our health as well. Overtraining can lead to muscles that always feel DOMsy, old injuries flaring up, or new injuries that seem to come out of nowhere. Overdoing it can reduce your immune system as well, resulting in persistent colds and upper respiratory tract infections; I’d like to think the role of gut health on immune function plays a part here.

Too much exercise can also cause you to see a decrease in exercise performance and strength. And, just as it can improve gut function, overtraining can have a negative influence on our guts; nausea, decreased appetite, bloating, and changes in your bowel habits.

Overcome over training.

On its most basic level, the gut symptoms of overtraining can be explained as, exercise is a stress to our body. As you know, ongoing stress leaves our bodies in a prolonged state of “fight or flight”. This gives us less time in the “rest and digest” state. The best way to address symptoms of overtraining is to reduce the exercise load, and ensure you have at least one rest day per week.

Fueling for exercise, fueling for gut health.

My second tip for mitigating symptoms of over training, is to ensure you are eating enough food to fuel the exercise you are doing, and provide enough fuel to replenish used energy stores. As I discussed in Facebook live, you want your post-exercise meal to be a nice blend of protein and carbohydrates. Gone are the days of downing a protein powder with water. You need to make sure you are having some carbs with this post-exercise meal too.

The post-exercise meal is the meal where you can have your starchy carbs (in moderation), your lean protein, and some brightly coloured fruit or veg as well. It’s the perfect meal for your daily boost of resistant starches – legumes, red lentils, kidney beans, adzuki beans, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, cassava, sweet potato, taro, rye bread, cashews and oats. You can read up on these in my blog on Gut Loving Foods.

If you are needing some help bringing all this information together, or if you’d like to work one on one with me in clinic, don’t forget to make yourself an appointment.

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