News flash: Crossfit is good for your gut! While this is very true in the quite literal sense on the outside; it is also true on our insides in the form of “bacteria”.
The word “bacteria” has got itself a bad rap in the public eye. We here “bacteria” and our minds go to hand sanitizer, those medical examiner masks and door knobs (or money. Don’t lick either of them. Ask your mom!). While it can be the cause of some fairly common health outbreaks like colds and the flu, inside of our gut we have a ton of good bacteria. Without it, life wouldn’t be so good. At all. They are a requirement for life on Earth and for our performance in the gym.
While the world of “bacteria” goes far beyond my understanding, in doing som research on the subject I found this article that made some good points and was very easy to understand; even for me.
We have Billions of bacteria on our skin, in our blood and of course, in our GUT. These GUT bacteria have evolved with us since the dawn of time to live in harmony with us. GUT bacterial strains are unique in that they act as a line of defense for our immune system by killing bad strains of bacteria and protecting the lining of our digestive system from all the harmful things that pass through it. Immune deficiency is linked to either a lack of bacterial diversity in our GUT or simply a desert where bacteria are not present at all! And this is where the new study comes in with some surprising data.
Cancer treatment is gnarly. Chemotherapy wipes out everything in its path, including the Healthy Bacteria in your GUT. So, a population of cancer survivors with a baseline level of bacteria at 0% is a great place to do some research! The University of Indiana researchers studied a control group of women who had recently (>1 year) gone through Chemotherapy. The women were given a fitness test to determine their level of fitness and then their fecal material (poop) was tested for bacteria levels.
The findings were very encouraging. The test group with a higher level of fitness (as determined by the fitness test) had a higher level of healthy GUT bacteria than the women with a lower level of fitness.
Higher levels of healthy GUT bacteria are associated with better inflammation recovery, better immune system, and improved muscle function. All around, more GUT bacteria diversity is a hedge against SUCKING AT LIFE.
Fairly straight forward read and encouraging that our gut health is associated with overall health and that our time in the gym improves all these things. Besides our time in the gym, here are a few other simple ways we can improve our gut bacteria and it’s functioning for health:
-Eat locally grown, whole foods (think “shopping at a local market”)
-Eat organic foods (part of most food producers system is using some sort of washing/sterilization procedure which kills most of the bacteria)
-Get plenty of vitamin D (I read once that in order to get our daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, we would have to be in a bathing suit exposed to direct sun for 12 hours a day. Not likely in Saskatchewan even in the summer)
-Dont Drink Alcohol in Large Amounts (alcohol kills things. Period.)
As we can see, there are definitely some up sides to “bacteria”. While we certainly want to avoid the bad stuff bringing on colds and flus and whatever else, it has its place. Pay attention to your “bacteria” and be mindful of what you are putting into your body. After all, it is taking care of what comes out of your body. Quite literally. And metaphorically in our performance and fitness level.