Quick Start Your Summer Fitness with These 10 Tips
Want to get fit but can’t figure out where to begin–start here. We’ve collected a sampling of no-fail movement and fitness tips to support your wellness and microbiome health. Take a look and enjoy!
Why You Should Move More to Boost Digestion
Regular movement and physical activity not only benefit your body but the trillions of organisms that make up your gut microbiome. Along with the foods that you eat, movement can influence the balance of beneficial bacteria in the body and support a normal immune response.
Tip #1: Find Your Minimal Viable Dose.
Research finds that moderate-intensity training is beneficial for supporting gut health. To get adequate movement in your routine, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to not only benefit your gut but your entire body. You can break that into 3 50-minute sessions or do a daily dose of 21 minutes. If your workout is more intense, you may need only 75 minutes of activity every week to support your health.
Tip #2: Vary Your Workout Routine
When training, aim for a mix of aerobic and resistance movements. To maximize your muscle growth, aim to do resistance training at least 2-3 times per week. For cardiovascular health and endurance, try to do cardio at least 5 days per week. Adding balance and flexibility exercises to your routine can help prevent injury and improve your performance in both aerobic and resistance exercises.
A Fit Microbiome: Movements that Have a Positive Impact on Your Gut
Science has shown time and again that physical activity is good for both the body and mind. What you may not know is that movement also impacts the health of your gut microbiome.
Although we’re just beginning to understand this gut-exercise connection, some research shows that certain types of movement seem to contribute to gut health more than others.
Tip #1: Specific types of activity may be beneficial for gut health
Movement and activity of all types are good for your general health and wellness, with specific types being more able to impact gut health and motility. High-intensity endurance training draws blood flow toward major muscle groups, limiting nutrient and oxygen supply around the digestive system. As a result, high-intensity training impacts the health of intestine walls and negatively alters microbiome diversity, at least temporarily. In contrast, low to moderate-intensity exercise, especially aerobic training, has been shown to help maintain digestive health, increasing the diversity and population of a healthy microbiome.
Tip #2: So, what does moderate training look like?
Walking/Light Jogging: Depending on your previous fitness level, brisk walking to light jogging can be a good choice.
Bike Riding: Bicycling with light effort at 10-14 mph can raise the heart rate and get your blood flowing.
Swimming or Water Aerobics: This is a great activity for anyone looking for minimal impact on the joints while getting a full-body workout.
Yoga: Certain yoga poses like twists are especially beneficial when it comes to the digestive system.
Move More to Boost Digestion
By moving your body, you’ll get things moving in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract too. Efficiently processing food and waste will give your body less of a chance to absorb water from your stool. Stool that remains moist is easier to pass, which will help you stay regular.
Tip #1: Give yourself time
If you’ve just finished eating, wait at least one hour before exercising moderately or vigorously. Give your body time to digest, especially if your meal was large or heavy.
Tip #2: Keep it light
If you have issues with digestion (like bloating and pain), consider light or moderate rather than strenuous exercise. Vigorous exercise can worsen symptoms.
Tip #3: Strengthen your pelvic floor
If you’re female, consider Kegel exercises. By strengthening the muscles on your pelvic floor, you’ll help your body push stool through your colon.
Movement to Improve Your Sleep-Wake Cycle
Among its many benefits, movement and physical activity can help improve sleep. Even 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can spur better shuteye that night, according to research. Here’s why: Moving tires out the body, increasing the drive for sleep and making it easier to fall asleep. Exercise also reduces feelings of anxiousness, leading to deeper sleep.
Tip #1: Early morning - dynamic stretches
By beginning your day with stretches featuring movement, you’ll help your nervous system segue from parasympathetic mode (when it’s focused on resting and digesting) to sympathetic mode (when it’s primed for action). Try these moves for 30 seconds each:
Tip #2: Late morning or early afternoon - vigorous aerobic activity
Aerobic exercise raises core body temperature for 30-90 minutes, keeping us in a more alert state. That’s why it’s ideal to work up a sweat earlier in the day, hours before we turn in. For your high-impact or vigorous regimen, consider an activity that makes your breathing deep and rapid and causes you to sweat after only a few minutes. To make sure your training is high impact, track your heart rate—it should be 70-85% of your maximum heart rate, according to the American Heart Association.
Tip #3: Before bed - low-impact movement
To help your body transition to sleep, choose a lower-impact form of activity, like a leisurely walk or yoga. If you can, take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. Consider dimming the lights or turning on relaxing music.