Everybody knows that exercise is good for you, but what actually happens in your body when you are physically active on a regular basis? Significantly, research has found that regular exercise is connected to increased amounts of healthy microbes in the gut, as well as more bacterial diversity. Since so much of our overall health is built on a healthy, balanced gut, many of the benefits of exercise for your health, are actually achieved via your gut.
Here are 6 great reasons to make exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle:
1. Improve your mood and mental wellbeing
That amazing feeling you get after a workout is one of the main reasons why you never regret getting some exercise in. When you’re physically active, your body releases chemicals that relax you and put you in a good mood.
2. Reduce stress and improve sleep
Moving your body is a great stress-reliever - there’s no better way to shake off a rough day than to get your heart pumping. Exercise and sleep are also closely connected. Getting some exercise every day helps you to fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep.
3. Support your immune system
Exercise is connected to a healthier gut, since the diversity of the beneficial bacteria in your gut increases with physical activity. Since 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, a healthy gut microbiome is the best way to boost your immune system.
4. Maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
Exercise can help you to lower blood sugar levels, helping insulin levels remain more even. This decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. If you already have diseases connected to blood sugar, regular exercise can help you to manage them.
5. Reduce your risk of heart diseases and other illnesses
The increased blood flow when you exercise actually raises the oxygen levels in your body, which strengthens your cardiovascular health and helps you to avoid heart conditions such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Regular physical activity can also help you to lower your blood pressure.
6. Improve digestion
An active lifestyle also keeps your digestive system active. Regular bowel movements are a sign of a healthy gut. Regular exercise such as walking, running and yoga are particularly beneficial to those suffering from constipation. Exercise also helps to relieve stress, and since the nervous system and the gut are so closely connected, regular exercise can also help your digestion by reducing stress.