Exercise – benefits beyond just calorie burn.

A new study has found that six weeks of endurance exercise altered the gut metagenome (bacteria, yeast and microorganisms) in over-weight women, but this was not reflected in their systemic metabolism.

What this means is that endurance exercise is about a lot more than burning calories when it comes to its impact on our weight. It’s been accepted for a long time that weight management and weight loss is a lot more complex than CICO – calories in/calories out. Now a successfully conducted six-week study of guided endurance exercise training was found to modify the composition and functions of gut microbiota without greatly affecting systemic metabolites. These shifts were independent of gross changes in weight, body composition or diet.

Overall, at the end of what was admittedly a small program (some 17 women) the researchers found a decrease in so-called proteobacteria (gut bacteria with the potential of causing inflammation) and an increase in Akkermansia – beneficial bacteria with links to a better metabolism.

Previous research has found physically active people have more Akkermansia, with some studies suggesting the bacteria may protect against obesity and diabetes. Larger trials are required, but once again, researchers are finding that the health implications of weight loss and weight management practices go beyond simple calorie counting.

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