Should you exercise when you're detoxing?

Should you exercise when you're detoxing?

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Expert-backed tips on how to change up your exercise routine when you’re following a detox plan.

Exercise and detoxing

You might be cutting out sugar, gluten, alcohol, carbs, caffeine and kilojoules, but you don’t need to cut out exercise as well. 

In fact, exercise can enhance the health boosting benefits of a detox plan

Physical activity improves digestive function and boosts the metabolic rate, helping to stimulate elimination channels through breath, sweat and circulation. 

However, any changes to your usual eating patterns will also require changes to the way you exercise. Here are five key considerations from exercise physiologist Andrew Cate, to keep in mind when you’re working out on your detox.

1. Lower the intensity

Because your kilojoule intake will generally be restricted on a detox diet, it’s important to lower the intensity of your workouts. 

Blood glucose supplies most of the fuel for vigorous types of exercise such as high intensity interval training (HITT), and this is usually supplied by the sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. 

By restricting sugars and carbs on a detox, you may actually feel faint and dizzy during intense exercise. So save the HIIT workouts for after your detox, and stick to slow and steady cardio at a pace where you can breathe comfortably.

2. Lower the impact

Another way to lessen the load on your body during a detox is to reduce the impact of your chosen activity. 

For example, switch your morning run to a brisk 20-30-minute walk. This can help to prevent any potential fatigue that you may experience during high impact exercise because of your restrictive diet. 

It can also help to maintain your existing levels of fitness during the detoxification process. Other good low impact choices include cycling, swimming and rowing.

3. Shorten the duration

If your fuel tank is in short supply, you won’t be able to travel far. 

Aim for shorter workouts during a detox to lessen the demands on your body. Keep workouts in the 20 – 30 minute range, sticking to shorter workouts if the intensity is higher. For example, a run should take less time than a walk. 

This is especially important if you are following a juice cleanse, because the reduced fibre content will speed up digestion and be a poor source of sustained energy. 

4. Stretch it out

A great way to keep your muscles moving while reducing fuel demands on the body is to engage in some stretching. This could include yoga classes, stretch classes, Tai Chi or simply a range of flexibility boosting movements performed on your own. 

Focus on stretching the major muscle groups in your legs, arms and back, and breathing deeply throughout. Ease gently into each stretch and hold for around 15 seconds, avoiding quick, bouncing movements. 

5. Listen to your body

Any change to your exercise routine may bring challenges. The key is to work within your limits. 

See how your body feels. Ease up at the first sign of fatigue or light headedness. Alternatively, if you’re feeling good, push a little further and faster. 

Stay well hydrated, and try to include sources of protein during your detox to boost recovery and prevent muscle loss. Plants based proteins that may be suitable include nut milks, quinoa and chick peas.