Link Between Exercise and Healthy Gut Flora

I have been battling with my gut bacteria for years now. At first I didn’t know what I was battling or how to combat it, but through lifestyle changes I slowly started to manage my symptoms.

Although there are some foods that upset my tummy more then others the only thing that has kept my stomach functioning in a somewhat normal capacity is exercise.

I didn’t know why, but the more regularly I exercised the more regular I was.

Finally my theory has some merit with two studies delivering clear evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of gut bacteria.

The first study was done on mice and found that the mice that received gut bacteria from other exercised mice had enhanced microbial diversity and a higher volume of butyrate-producing microbes. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid (STFA) that is very important to colon health, energy production and thought to protect against colon cancer. There was even reduced inflammation and an increase in molecules that promote faster recovery.

What does all that mean? Basically the bacteria in mice that were exercised was healthy then the gut bacteria in mice that did not exercise.

The second study looked at humans. They had 18 lean and 14 sedentary obese subjects. Every subject kept their same diet, but were required to do up to an hour of cardiovascular activates, three times a week for six weeks.

Samples were taken before and after and the results were fascinating with “increases in fecal concentrations for STFAs seen in the lean subjects, but only modest increases seen in the obese subjects.”

Which mean’t; There was an increase is all subjects gut health with an increase of cardio!

Six weeks after the program was completed, these positive increases had declined following the participants return to a sedentary lifestyle.

What does this all mean? Well, these studies and others show that there is a strong link between exercise and healthy gut bacteria. However more work still needs to be done to totally understand the mystery that is gut microbiome. But until then, an hour of cardio 3 times a week doesn’t seem like too much for healthy flora.



The mouse study was published in the journal Gut Microbes, while the second human study was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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