Exercise for cleansing
Emily Kennedy MSc RHN
Exercise such as running, jogging, rebounding, or doing yoga allows our bodies to sweat toxins. You can think of these activities as exercise detox.
Charging up that last hill at the end of a run—arms pumping, chest pounding, legs lunging and stretching—is an exhilarating experience. The body buzz when coasting home to cool down also feels incredible. There’s nothing like a rush of endorphins to boost mood and energy level.
Exercise provides not only a satisfying emotional rush, but also a healthy cleansing rush to the body. During exercise, the heart pumps strongly and blood courses rapidly through the veins. At rest, the human heart pumps about 5 litres of blood per minute. Exercise increases this output many-fold, delivering more oxygen and blood to all cells in the body and improving waste removal.
Sweat it out
The external signs of a workout are clear: sweat glistens on the skin and breathing is rapid, though gradually slowing. Sweat contains small amounts of toxins expunged from the body. When extra water is consumed after a workout, the kidneys flush out even more toxins to cleanse the body.
An aerobic workout also contracts abdominal muscles and helps move food waste through the digestive tract.
Get deep-down clean
Inside the body, thousands of biochemical processes are taking place to fuel tired muscles and create a new balance after the physical challenge. With each deep breath, carbon dioxide, a waste product from the body’s attempt to buffer pH levels, is released to counter the release of lactic acid from the muscles.
The pounding heart has increased blood flow, which in turn has increased the shear stress on blood vessel walls. Shear stress is like the undercurrent in a stream: if there’s no current, water stagnates and scum develops. When there’s constant low shear stress in blood vessels, triglycerides, cholesterol, and other metabolic debris can accumulate and form arterial plaque.
Increased blood flow from exercise disturbs the formation of arterial plaque, sweeping away metabolic waste like a broom sweeping dust bunnies away from a wall.
Attain antioxidant benefits
Just like antioxidants in our food, exercise produces natural antioxidants that decrease oxidative damage in our cells.
Using high-resolution ultrasound and MRI technology, exercise physiologists have studied the effects of exercise-induced shear stress on blood vessel walls. Research shows that the cells lining your blood vessels adapt to shear stress by releasing nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Nitric oxide then mops up free radicals in the circulatory system.
Exercise also stimulates the lymphatic system, which works with blood vessels to drain impurities from cells. The lymph system doesn’t have a pump like the heart, but increased blood flow speeds up lymphatic drainage, transporting wastes to the organs responsible for elimination.
Repeat for best results
From the visible sweat on the brow to the invisible clearance of toxins and release of antioxidants in the cells, the body has experienced an exhilarating renewal—an experience that should be repeated three to five times per week for maximum benefit.
Exercise is an effective method of cleansing many vital organs simultaneously and should be a regular part of your life. When was the last time you felt the cleansing rush?
Best cleansing exercises: dos and don’ts
These activities increase blood flow, digestive waste removal, lymphatic drainage, and antioxidant production. Remember to breathe deep and leave time for cool-down stretching.
Walking or jogging
Do: maintain good posture and swing your arms as you walk.
Don’t: walk in nonsupportive shoes.
Do: warm up slowly by gently bouncing in the centre of the mini trampoline.
Don’t: look down at your feet while bouncing or attempt gymnastic moves.
Do: exhale when you deepen each stretch.
Don’t: hold your breath during challenging postures.