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Want To Get Fit This Summer? Leave The Gym

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We all know the feeling: you've put on your gym shorts, laced up your sneakers, and you're staring at your water bottle just NOT wanting to workout. What if we told you that working out won't just build you strong muscles, but a strong microbiome, too?

We might be able to give you that extra boost of motivation. If you want a robust microbiome, just try out the Irish national rugby team's training routine. A recent study compared the microbiomes of the super buff athletes, men with normal BMIs, and men with high BMIs to see if there were any differences in their gut microbiomes. Turns out, the rugby players have the happiest bugs in their guts.

Out of all the groups studied, the rugby players had a much higher diversity in their intestinal microbiomes. Higher diversity means more healthy activity, and better gut health.

Another study done on mice is indicating that this link between microbiome diversity and exercise is stronger earlier on in development. Mice who ran on a wheel every day developed a more robust microbiome than mice who did not. Results compiled from a study on mice don't necessarily have exact implications for humans, but it is an indication that something interesting is happening here!

At Mother Dirt, we spend a lot of our time talking about the importance of accepting dirt back into our lives. We've confused healthy and sterile. Rugby players, out on the field in the mud, know that some gritty contact with nature is something to revel in, rather than try to avoid. Athletes also know not be afraid of a little sweat -- it has some hidden purposes.

Does this mean getting off the couch will automatically help your microbiome? It's important to remember that diet plays a huge role in the internal microbiome, as do a number of other factors. This is one of the first studies on the topic, and with the small sample size and other bacterial factors that may have impacted the results, we definitely have a long way to go.

We aren't giving you a free pass, though -- you should probably still go to the gym ;)

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