Cardio Benefits Gut and Improves Well-Being

December days are often too short and scarce on sunlight which can make it difficult to stay motivated to exercise, but regular activity might be just what the body and mind need this winter.

Some people are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) when darker, shorter days and wintry weather may keep them indoors and more socially isolated. And older adults, fearful of falling on icy sidewalks and pathways may curtail their regular walking habits during the winter months.  But inactivity can lead to depression, feelings of stress and even cognitive decline.

A recent study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise, found that after a six-week workout regime, levels of fatty acids in the gut that lower inflammation, increased.  In lean participants the concentration of butyrate soared and in overweight participants it rose more modestly.   Why the effects were more dramatic in lean study participants is still unclear but the benefits of regular exercise is well documented. Chronic inflammation in the gut is associated with a host of health problems including depression, fatigue, pain, a poor immune system and brain fog.

What 30 minutes on the treadmill can do:

  • Increase blood flow
  • Reduce stress hormones – lift mood
  • Improve memory
  • Slow cognitive decline
  • Counteract depression

There are many approaches to aging successfully including eating a healthy diet, getting regular medical check-ups and staying socially engaged but remaining physically active throughout life is as close to a magic pill to ward off illness and physical decline as we have.   Dust off that treadmill and make time for 30 minutes of exercise starting today for a happier and healthier winter season.

When starting any new exercise program or diet, talk with you doctor first and start off slowly, increasing intensity and duration gradually.  To learn what type of exercise is best for aging muscles, read more on high intensity interval training at the New Scientist here