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Exercise, fitness, and the gut

Cronin, Owen; Molloy, Michael G.; Shanahan, Fergus

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: March 2016 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 67–73
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000240
SMALL INTESTINE: Edited by Fergus Shanahan

Purpose of review Exercise and gut symptomatology have long been connected. The possibility that regular exercise fosters intestinal health and function has been somewhat overlooked in the scientific literature. In this review, we summarize current knowledge and discuss a selection of recent, relevant, and innovative studies, hypotheses and reviews that elucidate a complex topic.

Recent findings The multiorgan benefits of regular exercise are extensive. When taken in moderation, these benefits transcend improved cardio-respiratory fitness and likely reach the gut in a metabolic, immunological, neural, and microbial manner. This is applicable in both health and disease. However, further work is required to provide safe, effective recommendations on physical activity in specific gastrointestinal conditions.

Summary Challenging methodology investigating the relationship between exercise and gut health should not deter from exploring exercise in the promotion of gastrointestinal health.

aDepartment of Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Wilton

bAPC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland

Correspondence to Owen Cronin, MB BCh, MMedSc, MFSEM (Ireland), Department of Medicine, Clinical Sciences Building, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353 0 21 4901256; fax: +353 0 21 4922102; e-mail:

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