Exercise May Affect The Gut Microflora – Research Suggests


In modern day life, there are a lot of facilities that were not available a decade ago. People today can easily look up information about any sphere of life. You are literally one click away from knowing the recipe of the delicious food you had at last year’s Christmas dinner or home remedies to get rid of a cold.

The presence of such facilities has also had a number of other effects. For example, people are a lot more conscious about their health and fitness since there is an increase in awareness of the importance of staying in shape. Hence, a lot more people exercise now and keep a strict check on their diet.

Getting enough physical activity is fundamental when it comes to maintaining health. Research shows that exercise can increase lifespan and improve the quality of life. New research shows yet another benefit of adding exercise to the daily routine.

New research from Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that physical activity can also impact the diversity in gut bacteria. Microflora plays an important role in the overall health of the person.

Any negative effect on them can possibly ruin the general health. The findings of the study can be found in the journal Experimental Physiology.

Read the study here. 

How Was the Research Conducted?

Before the new research was held, scientists were aware of the fact that the cardiorespiratory fitness of a person can affect the level of diversity in the gut bacteria. Cardiorespiratory fitness is the efficiency with which the circulatory and respiratory systems deliver oxygen during exercise.

However, they were not sure what was the main factor that caused this – the body fat content of the person or the physical activity in his daily routine.

To find the answers, the team looked at a cohort of 37 participants who had undergone successful treatment for nonmetastatic breast cancer.

The reason why the researchers choose to work with former cancer patients was that the treatment of the condition is known to negatively affect metabolic health as well as cardiorespiratory fitness.

For the purpose of studying the total energy expenditure and cardiorespiratory fitness, the participants underwent graded exercises. Additionally, the team also assessed the fecal samples to observe the gut bacteria of the people.

What Were the Results?

After analyzing the participants, the researchers noted that higher cardiorespiratory fitness led to a higher diversity in the gut bacteria. Secondly, the cardiorespiratory fitness had a connection with a quarter of the variance in bacterial species diversity and the body fat content did not matter as much.

What does this mean? This research confirms that exercising with a certain level of intensity can not only improve the cardiorespiratory fitness but the general health by balancing the gut bacteria.

However, the team agrees that these findings have limited implications since the cohort was small in size. Furthermore, they are also solely correlative. The team’s lead author Stephen Carter, Ph.D.  aims to research further and comments:

“The aim is to uncover how exercise may affect functional outcomes of gut microbiota, as well as studying how exercise prescription may be optimized to enhance health outcomes among clinical populations.”



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Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Literature graduate with expertise in Creative Writing. Her writing interests are mental health, ethics, and news reporting. You will find her work associated with relevant research and references that shows her passion for delivering authentic information to readers.


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