Revitalise Your Resolutions: Navigating Fitness Goals and Gut Health

As we approach the end of February, the initial motivation that comes with our New Year’s fitness goals may be starting to wear off. In fact, research shows that 43% of people expect to give up their New Year’s resolutions after just one month1. However, keeping up your resolutions, especially any fitness goals, and maintaining healthy routines are important for your long-term health and wellbeing.

If you find yourself struggling to muster the motivation to exercise or simply want to learn more about increasing your daily physical activity, read on to discover our top tips to keep you on track with meeting your fitness goals.

How to stay on track

  1. Build daily activity into your routine

Physical activity doesn’t always have to mean structured exercise. Instead, shift your mindset and think about the ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. For example, swap the 20-minute bus journey for a 35-minute walk or cycle to work on your office days instead of taking public transport.  If you work at a desk, it is always good to get up and moving on your lunch break. You could go for a walk with colleagues, or even just pop a podcast on and take a lunch break walk by yourself! Either way, adding movement throughout the day is an excellent way to maintain your fitness without realising it.

  1. Rise and thrive

It’s 7am, and you promised yourself you’d go on that morning run, but suddenly your bed is the cosiest place on earth – making it near impossible to get up. If this sounds at all familiar, then you might need to ‘nudge’ yourself towards meeting your goals. Instead of keeping your phone by your bedside, making it easy to snooze the alarm, place it on the other side of the room, forcing you to get up to switch it off. Alternatively, lay out your exercise gear the night before, making getting out of the door a bit easier. The fewer reasons you can give yourself to NOT exercise, the more likely you are to do it.

  1. Make fitness fun

Have you ever wanted to try aqua aerobics, test your skills at volleyball or learn to dance? Have a look at what is available in your local area – there are many fun and novel ways to work up a sweat right on your doorstep. Equally, you might want to exercise from the comfort of your own home eg, try a workout video, YouTube, create an exercise circuit in your living room or put on your favourite tunes and dance. The options are endless!

  1. Don’t forget to rest

Exercise is great but it’s important not to burn yourself out. Prioritising rest days is important for sticking to your goals. This will allow your muscles to repair after any strenuous activities but will also prevent you from growing bored or unmotivated.

How exercise can impact gut health

If you’re still struggling to find the motivation to exercise after these tips, remind yourself of the benefits for your health. Exercise can benefit your heart health and reduce risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease2, aid your mental health state3 and strengthen your muscles4 – but it also has the potential to improve your gut health. It can also have a number of positive effects on your gut as follows:

Exercise can improve your gut bacteria diversity, independently of diet

Regular exercise can make your gut microbiota more diverse (i.e., lots of different types of bacteria)5. This is associated with better overall health as it can help to regulate inflammation throughout the body, support the immune system and allow for efficient nutrient absorption and vitamin synthesis6.

Regular physical activity can help to stimulate the digestive system

Frequent movement promotes more efficient digestion by helping food move through the gut; reducing the risk of constipation and alleviating symptoms like bloating and indigestion.7

Exercise can positively benefit the gut-brain axis; further contributing to better mental health

Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This, in turn, can benefit gut health because stress and mental health issues can adversely affect the gut.8


By implementing these strategies, you can increase your chances of sticking to your fitness resolutions beyond January and making lasting changes to your health and wellbeing. Remember, consistency, enjoyment and accountability are key to long-term success on your fitness journey. Keep pushing forward, and don’t be afraid to adapt and adjust as needed to stay on track towards your goals.

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[2] Nystoriak, M.A. and Bhatnagar, A., 2018. Cardiovascular effects and benefits of exercise. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine5, p.135.

[3] Robinson, L., Segal, J. and Smith, M., 2019. The mental health benefits of exercise. HelpGuide https://www. helpgu ide. org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise. htm.

[4] Boström, P.A., Graham, E.L., Georgiadi, A. and Ma, X., 2013. Impact of exercise on muscle and nonmuscle organs. IUBMB life65(10), pp.845-850.

[5] Cerdá, B., Pérez, M., Pérez-Santiago, J.D., Tornero-Aguilera, J.F., González-Soltero, R. and Larrosa, M., 2016. Gut microbiota modification: another piece in the puzzle of the benefits of physical exercise in health?. Frontiers in physiology7, p.51.

[6] Mohr, A.E., Jäger, R., Carpenter, K.C., Kerksick, C.M., Purpura, M., Townsend, J.R., West, N.P., Black, K., Gleeson, M., Pyne, D.B. and Wells, S.D., 2020. The athletic gut microbiota. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition17(1), pp.1-33.

[7] Gao, R., Tao, Y., Zhou, C., Li, J., Wang, X., Chen, L., Li, F. and Guo, L., 2019. Exercise therapy in patients with constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology54(2), pp.169-177.

[8] Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M. and Apostolopoulos, V., 2017. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas106, pp.48-56.