The Scientific Connection Between Exercise and Your Gut Microbiome

The Scientific Connection Between Exercise and Your Gut Microbiome

Mani Kukreja MD, MPH, IIN Mani Kukreja MD, MPH, IIN
4 minute read

Whether you want to lose weight, need more energy, or prioritize systemic health, exercise is a great tool to accomplish these goals. Getting active is also a way to prevent and treat several chronic diseases. When we think about exercising, the focus is typically cardiovascular, muscular, and mental health, but did you know that it can also help improve the gut microbiome?

Your Gut Microbiota's Role in Health and Performance

The gut microbiome is proving to be an important factor associated with numerous chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, intestinal bowel diseases (IBDs), and several types of cancer. Not only can digestive dysfunctions like bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and constipation ruin your day, but they can indicate much more severe underlying issues. Your gut microbes affect nearly every process in your body, from nutrient absorption and hormone regulation to immune responses, detoxification, and mental health. That means your gut microbiota could be vital in improving health, performance, and energy availability while controlling inflammation and redox levels in endurance athletes.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to improve gut health and microbiota. There is strong evidence that antioxidants, probiotics, and prebiotics are beneficial supplements for athletes looking to improve their health and performance. Many superfoods also provide essential antioxidants and nutrients to support the microbiome. While much of the early research surrounding the gut microbiome was based on diet, new research looks at how exercise can influence the gut microbiome.

Exercise and Gut Health: A Two-Way Relationship

A newly published research review article in Nutrients Journal shows the effects of exercise and physical activity on the gut microbiome of older adults. The scientists concluded that exercise and physical activity benefit gut health by improving gut microbiome composition. It's also now hypothesized that exercise ameliorates insulin resistance of type 2 diabetes.

A ground-breaking study published in Nature Medicine observed elite runners and found higher amounts of a particular type of gut bacteria that consumes lactate or lactic acid (lactic acid causes that burning sensation or fatigue in the muscles you feel when working out). These bacteria consume the lactic acid and produce the short-chain fatty acid, propionate, which has been shown to boost performance. This exciting development shows how exercise benefits gut health and how this relationship affects your overall strength and stamina.

Another study looked at VO2Max levels used to measure cardiorespiratory fitness and found it correlated with gut microbial diversity. This means the more physically active we are, the more diverse our gut microbiome will be. Scientists also recorded the benefits of exercise on body mass index.

In 2017, scientists from the European University in Spain published an article that found that different levels of exercise influence the composition of gut microbiota. They found that exercise can be a useful tool in breaking sedentary behavior.

Bottom Line

Based on available clinical evidence, exercise can have a positive impact on the gut microbiome and vice versa. Exercising regularly is a natural fix for common disruptors of digestion and can dramatically improve your gut health. With regular exercise comes the need for strong respiratory function, resB Lung Support is a great holistic tool to support just that. You can learn more at The improved gut microbiome can, in turn, influence improvements in overall health and well-being, saving you from several chronic illnesses.


About the Author

Mani Kukreja MD, MPH, IIN is the Director of Integrative Health and Wellness at ResBiotic and the Founder of Integrative Health and Wellness Practice "Liveagewell." As the creator of the educational course "21-Day Immune Reset program," Dr. Mani helps her clients learn more about their body's defense system and ways to optimize, boost, and support the immune system. Learn more at or follow Dr. Mani on Instagram.

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