Natural body detox through exercise
Have you let all the classic excuses keep you from enjoying physical activity? If so, here's something that may finally get you off the couch: excess fat is a haven for toxins, those impurities and poisons that can build up in our bodies. These toxins can come from processed foods, pollution in our environment, ongoing cellular-activity, medications and harmful chemicals.
We have two major systems that deal with the toxins in our bodies: the blood circulating system, pumped by the heart, and the lymphatic system, pumped by movement. These two systems run parallel to each other throughout our bodies, blood vessels and lymphatic tubes. They circulate through the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils and intestines, delivering nutrients and taking away the by-products of cellular function and the toxins.
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More fat, more storage for toxins
The more fat you have on your body, the more storage you have for toxins. Reducing the amount of fat on your body will release the stored toxins so your lymph and blood systems can more efficiently carry them to the exits.
Your skin, lungs, intestines and kidneys are the exits. Regular, heart-pumping (aerobic) exercise will increase the rate at which these toxins are kicked out of your system, giving them less opportunity to do permanent damage and degrade your body's functions.
When you exercise you breathe harder, which releases toxins such as carbon dioxide. In addition, you are burning calories, units of heat that when released, make you sweat, also releasing toxins. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and, as such, has a huge potential to release toxins when you are exercising.
What kinds of exercise work best?
As a 3D-year group exercise instructor veteran, I prefer exercising in a group class because the group energy keeps you motivated and it's FUN. Certainly, you can choose to exercise on your own by doing yoga, running, cycling or working out at home or in a gym. Set aside specific days and times so that exercise becomes a regular part of your schedule. Mix up your activities by walking briskly for two days per week, jogging for two and swimming for one, or any combination that makes it fun.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderately intense cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Moderate means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still be able to carry on a conversation. (Of course, beginners should consult with their healthcare professional before starting an exercise program.)
Any exercise that makes you breathe harder and sweat is a winner. I guarantee you will feel fabulous and be a lot healthier.
Linda Hertzberg is a fitness director and trainer in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology, and is certified in several fitness disciplines by ACE (American Council on Exercise), as well as being a Certified Pilates Trainer.