Exercise May Actually Affect Our Body From the Inside Out


Flatter abs aren’t the only stomach, or body, benefit of working out. Turns out, exercise may actually affect our body from the inside out, by altering our gut microbiome, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The study measured the gut health of 32 men and women who didn’t exercise, half of whom were obese, after an exercise regimen. While each participant’s microbiome reacted differently to the prescribed work out, some similarities stood out.

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After exercise, most volunteers had increased concentrations of beneficial compounds known as short-chain fatty acids, and the microbes that produce them in their intestines, reports The New York Times.

Short-chain fatty acids are believed to reduce inflammation in our gut and throughout our body, helping to head off diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and bolstering our metabolism.

The biggest changes to gut health were seen in the lean group. Another similarity among study participants: After six weeks of not exercising, nearly all the changes to their gut microbiome reverted back to baseline.

More studies are needed to prove the potentially broader health implications, Jeffrey Woods, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois who conducted the study, told the New York Times. For now, said Woods, “Still, the study’s overall results suggest that even a few weeks of exercise can alter the makeup and function of people’s microbiomes.”