When your gut health is out of whack your body can suffer from a range of issues from weight gain, diabetes, digestive problems and even sleep disruption and depression.

As such it’s vital that gut health is a main focus of your wellness routine, and although diet plays a major focus in improving your gut bacteria, exercise is also key in encouraging gut health.

One study found that regular exercise encouraged growth bacteria of the fatty acid butyrate which helps repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation.

The study found that “exercised rats showed a significantly higher n-butyrate concentration than the sedentary rats.

“This alteration of the cecal microbial environment may contribute to the beneficial effect of exercise on gastrointestinal disorders.”

These exercise-induced changes in the gut microbiota not only improves the metabolic function but guards against obesity and weight gain.

Another study found that just three hours of light exercise per week such a swim or brisk walk was enough to increase gut bacteria levels in women.

“Quantitative PCR analysis revealed higher abundance of health-promoting bacterial species in active women, including Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Roseburia hominis and Akkermansia muciniphila.

“Moreover, body fat percentage, muscular mass and physical activity significantly correlated with several bacterial populations,” notes the study.

Exercise also has been shown to increase endocannabinoid levels, responsible for controlling gut inflammation.

The endocannabinoids system is responsible for controlling brain signals for hunger and satiety.

Those who suffer from obesity tend to have their endocannabinoids system out of whack meaning they struggle with their hunger and satiety levels.

Research has shown runners and cyclists produce more endocannabinoids in their blood, which may have long term effects on their gut health and overall wellbeing.

“These studies add important knowledge regarding the influence of body composition on the microbiome’s response to exercise, and regarding the transient nature of this response once an exercise regimen is abandoned.

“An important question that remains unanswered is whether these microbiome changes are responsible for some of the long-term benefits of exercise to human health,” Dr. Geoffrey Preidis a scientific advisory board member for the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education told Healthline.

“Age, genetics, body composition, medications, the presence of disease, diet changes, and stress (such as sleep deprivation) are some of many factors that can impact the composition or function of the gut microbiome,” Preidis added.