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How Exercise Is Good For Gut Health

June 22, 2021

Many people know that different types of food are good for gut health and healing your gut microbiota, but not many people know that exercise can play a big part in gut health as well. Your gut health can be impacted by your weight, how much you sleep and your levels of stress – and since exercise can positively affect all of the above, it’s no wonder that it goes hand-in-hand with gut health.

Another misconception is that you need to do hard, vigorous exercise for it to be effective, but that is simply not the case. Working out too aggressively can actually do the opposite of what you want, which is why low intensity exercise is the way to go – and there are plenty of options to choose from other than walking!

What Is Low Intensity Exercise?

Low intensity exercise is when you are aiming to keep your heart rate at a steady pace for the duration of the workout. Your heart rate should be about 50 percent of its maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be calculated by taking 220 and subtracting your age from that number. 

Some common forms of low intensity exercise include:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga/Pilates
  • Walking
  • Elliptical

How Long Should You Exercise For?

This is a really big concern for most people. Of course not everyone wants to spend countless hours in the gym, and most people shouldn’t! Overexercise can be just as ineffective as no exercise at all. There is no magic number for how long anyone should workout, but aiming for at least 30 minutes is a great start. Gradually working your way up to 60 minutes is even better. Doing this three to five days a week is great for gut and overall health.

Additional Exercises

In addition to low impact exercise, you can also incorporate abdominal exercises and pelvic floor exercises to help out your gut. These exercises can strengthen your abdomen and diaphragm, which in turn can reduce acid reflux

Incorporating exercise is not only great for gut health, but an overall healthy heart and mindset as well. In addition to exercising for gut health, continuing to drink plenty of water and eating fibrous foods are beneficial. There is no one perfect way of exercising for gut health – the most important thing is that you are enjoying the way you are moving and it is sustainable long-term for optimal results. 

If you are concerned about your gut health or would like more information, send us a message today with our online appointment form or call for an appointment at 713.429.4550. Take control of your digestive and stomach health today with help from Gastro Health & Nutrition and our gastroenterologist.

By Dharmendra Verma

Dharmendra Verma, MD finished his residency training in Internal medicine at the University of Texas, Houston along with MD Anderson Cancer Center, where subsequently, he received subspecialty fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

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