Exercise and Gut Health

Is it possible that exercise can work against you - particularly when it comes to gut health? This is what I would be breaking down for you in the blog. Read along!

In one of my previous posts, I spoke about yoga for gut health. There is no doubt that movement therapy can do wonders for gut health. In my practice, the gut has always been a center point of focus. Why? Because I have seen firsthand that when you heal the gut, so many other off-track aspects of health fall into balance – think hormones, nervous system, and the immune system. When it comes to prescribing exercise to a patient, I often consider three things:

  1. Type of movement therapy

  2. How much of it per day or per week?

  3. Will this exercise prescription cause gut issues?

You often hear the words, “doesn’t matter what you do, just move!” While it is better to move than not – there is such a thing called overtraining or training beyond one’s physiological capacity. High-intensity workouts or prolonged periods of exercise puts a lot of stress in the body and this stress can absolutely affect gut health. Along with gut function being impaired, overtraining can also affect metabolic function (think thyroid) and have a hormonal impact (your poor adrenals) along with some noticeable musculoskeletal issues.

I know this might sound confusing, but it is quite simple really. It all comes down to listening to your body. If you have some health goals to achieve, here are some things for you to take action on –

1. Pay attention to how you FEEL after – how is your gut function? Your bowel movements, level of bloating, brain fog, or fatigue.

2. Try not to go overboard with exercise – Exercise should energize you, optimize gut function and make you strong. Not work against you! It is important to figure out what is RIGHT for you!

3. You need some rest to digest properly – Are you getting quality rest to allow the time needed for your body to reboot?

4. Focus on quality nutrients - What are providing your body to recover and recharge? Are they processed foods, sugars, dairy – sub-quality nutrients?

Along with quality foods, your body might also need supplemental nutrients that help boost gut function and also help with your training. Some of my favorites are the ones I mention in my “Upgrade your Smoothie” blog. These include Colostrum, L-Glutamine, and Turmeric.

Colostrum: Colostrum is the first milk the mother produces for the baby. This provides immune-boosting agents such as growth factors, antibodies, and other proteins that soothe the gut lining. There is research that shows that colostrum can heal the gut in a matter of 20 days! Click here if you want to check out the article.

L-Glutamine: Glutamine is the body’s most abundant amino acid. This is one of the best nutrients that helps repair the gut lining and restore the function of gut cells – This has a major impact on intestinal permeability and immune function. Want to read about it? Check out this review article.

Turmeric: I can go on and on about this amazing botanical. It is multifaceted in the way it works and its interaction with the gut and the gut microbiome is what makes it so special. It is a master anti-inflammatory nutrient and helps heal the gut in so many ways.

It is always about finding the right balance. I call this the Goldilocks theory - it has to just right! Exercise is the BEST! But remember too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! Always listen to your body - use your innate intelligence as a compass to guide you. Need guidance? Sometimes you do! Work with the experts to help you reach your goal!