Updated: Apr 16, 2021
When most people think about detoxing, they think about not eating for several days or drinking only juices, smoothies and soups, or cleansing the body by taking products that have a laxative effect. But detoxing is done by your body everyday. The word detox means to eliminate waste. Your body does this naturally every time you pee, poop and sweat. These are natural responses to the body getting rid of waste.
Why is it important for our bodies to detox? Our world is surrounded by chemicals. The foods we eat, water we drink and the air we breathe is very unhealthy. It is impossible to eliminate all of the chemicals is our lives. This is why detoxing is very important to the body.
In order to stay healthy and avoid illness, our bodies must be able to eliminate the toxins we are exposed to every day. Did you know that air pollution can cause heart disease, stroke, COPD, lung cancer and respiratory infections? (Source: Clean Air) How does sweating help reduce the risk of illness and disease from air pollutions? The NIH states that moderate intensity exercise improves immune function and potentially reduces risk and severity of respiratory viral infection.
Waste that is eliminated through sweating includes BPA, heavy metals and chemicals from the phthalate family. To give you an idea of how we are getting these substances into our body, here is a list of where they come from:
Scary how many everyday products we use have chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. The reason these chemicals are so harmful is they interrupt our bodies processes. Our bodies want to fight for us. They want to keep us healthy. When we ingest chemicals that make it hard for the body to do it's job, it becomes fatigued and disease sets in.
The chemicals in the products we use every day and eat in our food cause our digestive system to become imbalanced. Hippocrates said "all disease begins in the gut". Studies have shown that every day exposure to chemicals creates a constant low-grade inflammatory environment in the gut. (Source: Nature) This can turn into a variety of gut health issues such as IBS, Chron's, Colitis and diverticulitis.
A way to combat the chemicals is to eat clean organic food, drink clean water and exercise regularly, to detox the chemicals from our bodies. As long as you are eating foods that are not processed and drinking plenty of water, your kidneys and liver will eliminate waste. Exercise is the one detox activity that takes effort. Unless it is 90 degrees, high humidity and the air-conditioning is not on, I don't sweat when I am sitting on the couch . I have to make an effort to sweat. Making the effort is often the hardest part.
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Here are 5 tips on how to start sweating to support your bodies natural detox.
Only 23% of Americans actually get the recommended amount of physical activity by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC states " People should engage in “moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week” or “vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 75 minutes per week,” or any combination.: (Source: Forbes) Breaking this down, 150 minutes is only 30 minutes 5 days a week. This is only 2% of our day.
As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach, I often guide my clients to strive for a goal of 30 minutes of exercising after they start sweating. This is the best way to get the benefits of detoxing from exercise. If you aren't exercising regularly, it can be hard to start.
The best way to begin exercising is to start slowly and schedule the time, just like you would a hair appointment. A way to keep exercising is to find an activity you like to do. There is nothing worse than dreading an exercise routine but still doing it because you think you have to.
If you haven't been exercising in awhile, I am a big fan of just starting a walking routine. Walking is a great way to be active for a long period of time (at least 30 minutes) and it can be done anywhere. To increase the likelihood of sweating, wear layers. Put on a knit hat, long underwear and heavy sweat pants. This may not be possible if your walking routine means you are walking during your lunch hour, but if you can find the time to layer up, it will help you sweat more.
Once you have a walking program down, try to increase the intensity by jogging every so often. You can time yourself to walk 10 minutes, jog for 3 minutes. Keep up this timing until it becomes easier for you to jog 3 minutes. Then increase to 5 minutes. As you build endurance it becomes harder to sweat. But that is a good thing! It means your body is getting stronger.
Carrying weights while you walk or jog increases the intensity. The weights don't have to be very heavy. Small hand weights that are up to 2 pounds will do. Adding weights to your routine will help you sweat faster. This is a great option if you can't increase the amount of time you are exercising.
This is one of my favorite activities. I recently bought a personal infrared sauna that is portable. I can put it anywhere in my house and enjoy 30 minutes of relaxing and sweating. There are numerous benefits for using an infrared sauna. Healthline states benefits of a sauna are:
Relieve Sore Muscles
Relieve Joint Pain from Arthritis
The infrared sauna I bought can be found on Amazon. I try to use it two times per week. The infrared sauna benefits I notice is not only improved circulation and relaxation but also relief in the soreness of my muscles and joints. A question I frequently get is do saunas help you lose weight? The most immediate weight loss effect you may feel is the loss of excess water weight. Since a sauna helps to detoxify your body, weight loss may occur over a long period of time. But if you don't eliminate chemicals from your routine, the sauna removal of toxins will not help you lose weight.
If you can't buy a personal infrared sauna, there are health and wellness centers who have saunas you can pay to use. Also, some fitness centers have them as well. One caution, while a sauna will help you sweat it is not a replacement for exercise. A sauna should be just one part of your total sweating routine.
Sweating often is a great way to detox the body. A lot of products we use everyday contain harmful chemicals that get stuck in our body. These chemicals can make it hard to lose weight, contribute to allergies and cause us to get sick. Working to eliminate those harmful chemicals as much as we can will help our sweat session be even more productive.
Ways to sweat include moving the body, wearing multiple layers, adding weights to our movement routine and using a sauna. Do you think you will try to sweat more? Let me know by leaving a comment below.