Going for a long bike ride can do wonders for your microbiome, according to Finnish researchers.

During a six-week study, scientists asked a group of overweight women to take part in three endurance-based cycle sessions a week without making any adjustments to their diet.

Although the women didn’t drop a significant amount of weight, the microorganisms in their gut underwent serious changes.

Not only did their levels of inflammation-causing microbes (proteobacteria) decrease, their levels of akkermansia (a group of metabolism-boosting microbes) were found to be much higher than when they started.

Since the group refrained from making any dietary changes, the scientists say that endurance exercise is most likely the driving force behind the women’s improved gut health, meaning that food isn’t the only way to keep your digestive system in good nick.

Not only that, endurance training was also shown to decrease levels of cholesterol-causing particles and improve vascular health.

Not a fan of cycling? Get your endurance fix with long hikes or runs instead.

Cardio vs weight training: which one’s better for weight loss? Scientists have found the answer. Plus, these are 6 signs your gut health is out of balance.

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