The Hobart

How To Safely Exercise Your Gut

by Benedict Freudenmann
How To Safely Exercise Your Gut

Although stretching your gut to make room for that last slice of pizza could technically be construed as an exercise, it’s unfortunately not what I’m here to talk about today. I’m talking about the impact of physical exercise on your gut health.

Your gut isn’t just there to absorb nutrients from our food. It’s a major part of our immune system – did you know you have a whole miniature world living within your large intestine? It’s an ecosystem made up of bacteria, yeast, protozoa, viruses and other microbes. This ecosystem (called the microbiome) is completely reliant on our diet, body and lifestyle for survival. In turn, these helpful critters perform a range of essential functions for our digestion, mental health, immune system and overall health.

Recently the gut microbiome has been dubbed one the biggest modifiable factors or our overall health. These little bacteria are big news and we’re still learning more about them every day.

So why am I writing an article on safe exercise and gut health? We have so much incredible scientific data showing that exercise helps the gut, the bacteria within and your overall health. However did you know that approximately 30% of all endurance athletes have issues with their gut health?

So why is this?

The gut and brain are connected with the Vagus nerve – a two directional street which allows the gut to communicate with the brain and vice versa. Yet when the body detects enough stress, it shuts down this road. Stress can come in many forms, both physical and mental. When the stress is sufficient enough the brain shuts down the gut as it’s deemed as a non-essential organ for your survival. Instead it focuses on the heart, lungs, muscles and brain.

During this stressed state (sympathetic nervous system domi- nance) the gut rapidly starts losing blood flow. After 10 minutes of running it has lost up to 20% of its blood supply and after 60 minutes up to 80% is gone. This lack of blood flow to the gut has disastrous effects on the cells within the gut, the microbiome, our nutrient absorption and our bowel motions. This results in IBS like symptoms, diarrhoea, constipation, food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies and much more.

So how can we have this amazing data showing us we should be exercising for our gut health and other data showing us it’s harmful? Our body has a tolerance. When we conduct exercise that’s too strenuous (over 70% maximum exertion) we negatively affect the gut, however any exercise conducted under 60% of maximum exertion has a profoundly positive effect on the gut and our entire bodies.

Now before you wind back your exercise to a mere gentle walk there’s plenty we can do to minimise these negative effects.
• Hydration was critical in delaying any damage to the gut. Even a 10% reduction in hydration made a noticeable difference. Therefore make sure to stay fully hydrated.
• Eating (carbohydrates or sugars) during intense endurance exercise distracts the gut and can increase blood flow, thereby reducing damage brought on by lack of blood flow. Fruit is an excellent option for this.
• Finally there are a range of supplemental products which can help protect your gut from exercise induced damage. Discuss these with your nutritionist, dietician or doctor.

Exercise is essential for every facet of our wellbeing. However even something as great as exercise can have negative effects if overdone. If you’re an athlete who has digestive complaints, chat to a nutritionist to see if you can implement a program thatworks for your body and your sport.


Do you know your vitamin D status?

Vitamin D has so many functions within the body, it’s commonly referred to as a hormone. It’s essential for bone strength, your immune system, blood sugar control, inflammation, replication of DNA and supporting your mood and nervous system. After winter, 66% of Tasmanians are vitamin D deficient. Check with your GP whether testing vitamin D may be relevant to you.

 

Benedict is a clinical nutritionist who practices at www.learntonourish.com in Ranelagh. 

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Exploring Tassie These Winter School Holidays
We know that staying indoors with the family isn’t always fun. And while it’s obviously cold outside, you’re only a puffer jacket and beanie away from being comfortable and ready to explore. There’s lots of family fun to be had in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the state these school holidays.
Sand Surfing on the Peninsula
The half-day walk to Crescent Beach in the Tasman National Park offers so much- including epic sand dunes for surfing and incredible views.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
August 2022

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!