During a cleansing period exercise is permitted, but one should avoid intense workouts such as HIIT and challenging cycling classes. During a cleanse, such as Clean 7 or Clean 21, the body is focused on detoxification. This process takes a toll on the body, as it requires a tremendous amount of energy.
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Think of the body as a bank account, it has a certain amount of money within it, and it is not wise to spend more money than has already been acquired. The same goes for energy within the body. As Dr. Junger details in his book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself, “If it (the body) spends too much energy in one area, it simultaneously has to cut back somewhere else to compensate,” (Junger, 126). If the body is using a large amount of energy to exercise, that takes it away from another area, because unlike a bank account the body cannot take out loans to receive more energy.
If the body is focusing on detoxing and then the same body is told to participate in intense exercise, detoxification is put on hold. During this type of exercise, known as anaerobic, lactic acid is produced and held in the muscles. Dr. Junger explains, “When you push into the harder exercise realm of anaerobic exercise – meaning you’re burning sugar faster than oxygen can be taken in – you make a different waste product, lactic acid,” (Junger, 127). The body then must shift energy from the detoxification process to creating lactic acid. Therefore, lighter exercise is recommended during a cleanse, whether it be a 7-day cleanse or a 21-day cleanse plan.
Learn more from Dr. Junger in his book, Clean.
While exercise is of course allowed during a cleanse, for the health of the body and to wisely use the energy given by the plant-based diet being consumed, short periods of light workouts are best. After completing a workout, or prior to it in a morning smoothie, the body will need to be given nutrients yet again. The Clean Daily Shake Protein Powder and Revive, an organic green superfoods powder, are fantastic options to aid in this process.
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Simply doing breathing exercises throughout the cleanse is a terrific way to release toxins and practice mindfulness. Dr. Junger recommends Belly Breathing, which focuses on, “...breathing in and out through the nose, letting the belly inflate and the back and chest expand on the inhale,” (Junger, 181). This practice can be done anywhere at any time. As Dr. Junger expertly put it, “It will be cleaning out the lungs while quieting and clearing the mind.”
Yoga and Stretching
While exercise does stimulate bowel movement, on a cleanse it is important to not overdo it, as the body is already working hard on the detoxification process. Dr. Junger asks participants to, “Consider reducing your exercise by half,” and allow the body to rest more than usual (Junger, 184).
Light yoga or stretching sessions are a wonderful alternative to an intense training session while cleansing. Allowing the body to settle and breathe into a few yoga poses and stretching out the body are, “...great ways to stay active, tone the muscles, and stimulate the detox process,” (Junger, 184).
Explore beneficial yoga poses to practice during your cleanse.
Daily Exercise and Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that “...can be translated as the science of longevity,” (Junger, 121). It focuses heavily on intention, routine, and simplification. Dr. Junger explains that “Its core philosophy is that health is a state in which the body is clear of toxins, the mind is settled, emotions are happy, wastes are consistently eliminated, and organs are working efficiently,” (Junger, 121).
Daily exercise is a key component of an Ayurvedic routine. In fact, it is included in classic texts associated with Ayurveda and known as, “dinachrya.” No single type of exercise is required, as the room for everyone to decide for themselves and do something enjoyable is important in this tradition, like cleansing and mindfulness.
Listening to the Body
Throughout the detoxification process, it is important to listen to the body and what it needs. This can be done by exercising according to a person’s specific dosha type: vata, pitta, or kapha. Focusing on the type of movement and time of day that is best to exercise according to the dosha most prominent in the body is an important Ayurvedic practice and is immensely helpful during a cleanse.
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