Here's how your gut affects your mental health, immune function and even cardiovascular health

Exercise influences gut health, including improved digestion, enhanced nutrient absorption, better circulation, a sense of calmness, and stimulation of the vagus nerve. Let’s learn more on that.
Image Credits: Pexels
Image Credits: Pexels

After all the celebrations and unhealthy eating patterns, it’s time to get back on track and for that, we need to start looking after our gut health on priority because gut health has emerged as a key factor in maintaining overall health and wellness.

Beyond its role in digestion, the gut is now recognized as a vital contributor to mental health, immune function, and cardiovascular health. That’s why the gut is called the second brain of our body. Moreover, a healthy gut is essential for nutrient absorption and immune system support, contributing to overall physical health. Recent research has highlighted the remarkable impact that regular exercise can have on optimizing gut health. Exercise influences gut health, including improved digestion, enhanced nutrient absorption, better circulation, a sense of calmness, and stimulation of the vagus nerve. Let’s learn more on that. 

Improved digestion: Regular physical activity is closely tied to enhanced digestion. Exercise stimulates digestive tract muscles, facilitating the movement of food and waste. This effectively alleviates issues like constipation and bloating, leading to smoother digestion processes.

Enhanced nutrient absorption: Regular exercise plays a crucial role in enhancing nutrient absorption within the body. Physical activity increases blood flow to the digestive system, improving the delivery of nutrients to cells. This heightened circulation optimizes the absorption of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the food we consume. Furthermore, exercise promotes the health of the intestinal lining, ensuring efficient nutrient transport across the gut barrier.

Better circulation: Engaging in regular exercise has a positive impact on cardiovascular health.Through increased heart rate and enhanced blood flow, exercise helps oxygen and other nutrients reach cells more effectively, supporting cellular functions and overall health. Regular physical activity thus fosters a well-nourished and welloxygenated cellular environment, vital for maintaining optimal bodily processes and wellbeing. Oxygen fuels the cells responsible for breaking down food, aiding in the extraction of nutrients during digestion. Improved oxygen supply supports the digestive tract's muscles and enzymes, promoting efficient food movement and nutrient absorption.

Feeling calm: Exercise is a wellknown stress reliever and its positive effects extend to the gut. High levels of stress and anxiety can disrupt gut health by affecting the gutbrain axis but physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones, which alleviate stress and induce feelings of calmness. This stress-relieving effect extends to the gut, as exercise helps regulate gut motility and microbiota composition. By reducing stress and enhancing gut health, exercise forms a synergistic relationship that contributes to calmness.

Stimulation of the vagus nerve: The vagus nerve plays a critical role in the gut-brain connection. Exercise, particularly pranayama, swimming, jogging, etc stimulate the vagus nerve, promoting better communication between the brain and the digestive system. This stimulation can lead to improved digestion, reduced inflammation and a more balanced gut microbiome. The connection between exercise and gut health is becoming increasingly evident as scientific research advances. As we continue to uncover the intricate relationship between exercise and gut health, it becomes clear that staying active is a key factor in achieving overall wellness.

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