Well done, that’s five weeks of consistently contributing to improving your gut!
Welcome to week six: exercise
Fear not, you haven’t joined one of Foxy’s military boot camps, but if the word ‘exercise’ alone makes you want to run for the hills?! do it, it’ll count towards your daily exercise.
Exercise is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle and a key contributor to both physical and mental wellbeing, but it can seem relatively scary, as our idea of what it is to be fit and healthy might be a little way off thanks to all the six-packs on Love Island.
While the lasting impact of exercise on the gut is still yet to be established, exercise’s role with our mental wellbeing is very well documented, as are the links between your gut and mental health, including the reduction in stress hormones (affecting the microbes in your gut) and encouraging healthy bowel movements (a digestive walk is a real thing and can even help control blood sugar!).
Exercising for just six weeks could have an impact on your gut microbiome, meaning if you introduce more exercise into your daily routine as of today, exercise alone will play a role in nurturing a healthy gut by the end of this 12-week programme.
And this doesn’t mean you need to suddenly become some ultramarathon loving fitness fanatic… or Mr. Motivator. If you aren’t a swimwear (or aspiring swimwear), model or competing bodybuilder then you needn’t train or eat like one! There are some simple daily targets you can aim for to make sure exercise is helping to support your gut (and overall) health:
Try to be physical every day. This doesn’t mean going to the gym or out for a run, it can be simply getting yourself up, out and away from that office chair and screen. We’d recommend giving any of these a try:
- Going for a brisk 30-minute walk
- Having a sociable game of tennis.
Try to achieve 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week:
Do strength activities (working all your major muscle groups) at least 2 days a week. This will contribute to your 75-minute weekly target above:
- Lifting weights
- Resistance bands
How you train and when you train is completely up to you – some people do extremely well wearing their gym gear to bed so they can wake up and run downstairs to their exercise bike, while others do better a little later in the day, either way a great way to start the day is imitating your cat or dog when they wake; have a nice stretch, find some sunshine and give your circadian rhythm the light cue it needs to keep your sleep in order – perhaps by getting up and out for a morning walk now you’re sleeps improving and your energy is more consistent!
Whether you want to lose weight, improve fitness or gain muscle, your specific targets (and preferences) will dictate which method of training best suits your goals. Whatever you’d like to achieve, starting out little and often and making sure you take time out for recovery between workouts will help you avoid burnout and help exercise, as abstract as it is (yes – an hours exercise is in fact abstract!), become a regular part of your routine and something you maintain.
Like all things gut, consistency is key and exercise needs to be incorporated as a lifestyle change to enjoy the lasting benefits. Some weeks will of course be better than others, that’s just life, but making a conscious effort (and giving yourself realistic targets) will go a long way to adapting your lifestyle to support a healthier gut and a happier you.
So buddy up with an exercise partner, try something new and discover the endless physical, mental and social benefits of exercise.
Hopefully by now you should be doing pretty well as far as your food diary and noting some welcome changes as you enter your 6th week of Aguulp. Do reference previous emails as often as you need to, until everything just becomes another part of your day!
How are you feeling so far? Please keep us up to date on your journey by tagging us on social media and shoot any questions you have over to [email protected]