The answer is mostly yes. A recent review looking at the implications for exercise and the gut microbiome found the following:
Professional rugby players versus their lean sedentary counterparts:
-Professional rugby players have a higher diversity and abundance (types and amounts) of gut bugs compared to a lean person with a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
-These rugby players also had a lower abundance of Bacteroides and Lactobacillus then their counterparts.
Women who are active versus their lean sedentary counterparts:
-Another study looking at women who were did at least 3 hours of exercise per week had increased levels of a number of bacteria that were butyrate producers and an increase of Akkermansia muciniphila (A. muciniphila). A. muciniphila has been linked to improved metabolic health and lean body mass index (BMI).
These results are great but they weren’t linked to diet and we all know the diet of an athlete and those who exercise are more than likely healthier than those who don’t exercise. Research is ongoing so we should know more soon!
Image sourced from: https://pixabay.com/photos/people-man-exercise-fitness-health-2604149/