4 Science-Backed Ways Exercise Can Boost Digestion & Energy
Exercise has a multitude of mental, emotional, and physical benefits but did you know that digestion is one of them? Exercise can impact digestion both positively and negatively. Consistent exercise can help increase digestive regularity, help you sleep sounder, and activate helpful digestive enzymes. To pump up the motivation to get moving and nurture better digestion in the process, read on.
1. Exercise can help keep stress & mental health in check
Getting in regular exercise can be a great way to boost endorphins and overall mental health. Endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that act as the body’s natural pain killers and mood boosters. Aerobic-specific exercises such as jogging, a hike, or even a dance class gets the heart rate up and can boost that “feel good” feeling! The stress-relieving benefits to exercise are immense. When done properly, exercise can greatly reduce stress hormone levels such as adrenaline and cortisol. In addition to this, moderate exercise can help you proactively handle stressors with a boosted mood and create a higher stress tolerance over time. It is wise to consult with your doctor when it comes to finding the right type and intensity of exercise to add to your routine.
Tip: Mixing in some low-intensity exercises into your week can help give your body a breather and help you destress. While vigorous, high intensity exercise can help someone destress in the short term when it is done too often it can also raise the body’s cortisol levels and feelings of stress. Some great low-impact exercise ideas to try include walking, stretching, Pilates, or yoga.
2. Exercise can help balance good bacteria in the gut
There are 100 trillion microbes living in your gastrointestinal tract. New research has shown that consistent moderate intensity exercise can decrease the microbes in the gut associated with inflammatory disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease. Along with consistent exercise consuming a quality probiotic can help cultivate a healthy microbiome. Vibrant Health’s Digestive Vibrance is a proprietary blend of probiotics and nurturing ingredients for improved bowel health. With 100 billion probiotics from eight strains, this soothing blend can help balance out your digestive system and move you towards smoother digestion. For optimal results take 1 scoop of Digestive Vibrance at night with 8 ounces of water.
Tip: Frequently completing high intensity workouts can ramp up your cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) as well as loosening the body’s intestinal barrier. This can lead to a condition called “Leaky Gut” and an elevation in inflammation and toxins from gut bacteria. A compromised gut can lead to a lower immune system as well as cramping, bloating, inflammation, and uncomfortable GI symptoms. Experts recommend keeping these HIIT style workouts to 2-3 times a week and staying in touch with your body to not overdo it.
3. Exercise can help boost the immune system
Completing moderate intensity exercises has been shown to help stimulate cellular immunity, increasing the circulation of immune cells while preparing the body to fight off future infections. Exercise can also boost gut health by helping create a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut which is closely linked to better immunity and higher energy. It is recommended to exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity for 60 minutes or less to get all of the immune-boosting benefits.
Tip: Strength training is an incredible way to build strength as well as increase blood flow and relieve stress in the body. Lifting weights just 2-3 times a week can greatly benefit and boost the immune system over time as well as reduce inflammation in the body.
4. Exercise can help you get better sleep
There is a dynamic and interconnected relationship between exercise and sleep. Getting in moderate to vigorous exercise can improve sleep quality by reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increasing sleep duration, and improve the overall quality of sleep. Additionally, regular exercise can help to keep weight in check and lowers the risk of sleep apnea as well as other diseases.
Tip: Some experts recommend refraining from intense exercise 3 hours before bed as it can increase adrenaline levels and heart rate, making it harder to fall asleep. This may differ person to person so finding what works for you is important. If you tend to struggle with falling asleep having a consistent sleep schedule and finding ways to wind down before bed through light yoga, meditation, or stretching could be beneficial.
Quick tips for success with exercise and digestion:
- Drink an adequate amount of water (7-10 oz. of water for every 10-20 minutes of exercise)
- Don’t consume a heavy meal 30 minutes to an hour before exercise
- Aim to consume a variety of anti-inflammatory foods
- Don’t overdo high intensity workouts more than 2-3 times a week
Getting in regular exercise carries with it many powerful health benefits. Better digestion is linked to better sleep, higher energy, gut health, and being in a better mood. As you lace up those gym shoes to hit the gym remember to tune into your body and to nurture it with healthy foods, hydration, and of course, Vibrant Health.