Looking after our gut involves both diet and lifestyle – including eating healthily, staying hydrated and managing stress and sleep.
One other piece of the puzzle is exercise and, whilst too much exercise can cause additional stress on the body and lead to gut issues, it is important to ensure we get enough exercise. This can help to strengthen the digestive system generally and to reduce constipation – and studies have shown that exercising for 30 minutes three times a week can help to improve levels of certain types of good bacteria.
When deciding what types of exercise to include, consider the following:
· If you have no pre-existing gut issues, HIIT (high intensity interval training) can help to boost overall health, including digestion and immunity.
· If you already have gut issues, try low intensity and low impact exercises – high intensity exercise will transfer blood flow from your gut to your muscles and slow down your digestive system.
· Include some element of cool down and relaxation at the end of your exercise session to support your muscles and your gut.
· Be mindful throughout your exercise routine to identify if it is working and how your gut is feeling - can you push harder or do you need to pull back and do less?
And always eat to support your exercise and stay well-hydrated.