The human gut harbours a large variety of microbes, which fluctuate according to our environment and lifestyle. One factor that appears to affect the diversity of our gut microbes is our levels of exercise.
New research, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise , investigated the gut bacteria of 18 lean and 14 obese subjects before and after exercise. The subjects were told to maintain their normal diet but were instructed to undergo a new exercise regime of up to 1 hour of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week for a period of 6 weeks.
The microbes of participants were measured before and after the programme.
The results showed an increase in the faecal concentrations of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) known to be responsible for energy production, protection against colon cancer and vital to colon health. Meanwhile, obese subjects only showed moderate increases in SCFAs.
In a follow up study 6 weeks after the programme, these positive effects on gut microbes had declined as the participant had returned to their sedentary lifestyle.
The study supports previous research that exercise results in greater biodiversity of healthy gut bacteria and proves that there is a difference in how the microbes of obese and lean subjects react to cardiovascular exercise.