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Gut health and exercise

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by JanAtheCPA, Apr 8, 2024.

  1. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is an excerpt from a new article by National Geographic which might be accessible here, although it's probably behind a paywall. The section about gut health and moderate exercise is, I think, of particular interest to many of us with TMS (the rest of the article describes digestion in detail, and discusses considerations for those who engage in intense exercise, which I expect can be found elsewhere if that's your interest). The article specifically mentions IBS and IBD.

    Excerpt from How exercise can help—or hurt—your digestion
    By Emma Yasinski
    National Geographic
    March 28, 2024

    Moderate exercise
    If you go for a walk or do a low intensity workout while your digestive system is working, the exercise may help move things along. Contracting your abdominal muscles, for example, can help stimulate peristalsis in your intestines.

    "Your biceps or your triceps, that's skeletal muscle, and that's on a voluntary control, which means that you can flex your bicep or you can contract your hamstring voluntarily,” says Robynn Chutkan, a gastroenterologist in Washington DC and author of four books on gut health. “While the GI tract [gastrointestinal tract] is smooth muscle. It's under involuntary control.” But physical activity can still speed up the process by getting your blood flowing and helping to contract and relax these smooth muscles that serve as the passageway of the digestive system.

    Over the long term, exercise helps maintain a healthy gut, allowing you to better absorb nutrients, says Florence-Damilola Odufalu, a gastroenterologist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Physical activity increases our production of a chemical called nitric oxide, which helps relax the muscles in our intestines and prevents inflammation.

    Working out also is well-known to promote mental health. Your intestines are lined with nerve cells that communicate with your brain and respond to stress via neurotransmitters. Many researchers now consider irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) a disorder of the gut-brain interaction that is frequently triggered or exacerbated by stress, anxiety, or depression.
    [Jan's emphasis]

    While people with digestive disorders may not be able to exercise comfortably during flare ups, when they can get physical activity in, it’s likely to be beneficial. It can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety that trigger digestive flares.

    “It should really be emphasized that there are a lot of beneficial effects on the body, the bones, mental health,” of exercise, says Djalal, all of which can improve outcomes in digestive disorders such as IBS and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).​
    HealingMe likes this.

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