Is it safe to detox and exercise at the same time?

Ilona Wesle, nutritionist at gives you some advice

While a detox shouldn’t negatively affect your energy levels when carried out properly, if you’re a naturally very active person you may need to put some extra planning into your detox in order to make sure you’re working out at a safe level and getting the fuel you need to maintain an active lifestyle.

Exercising excessively during a detox can actually be dangerous for you, so Ilona Wesle, nutritionist at, has some advice on how to adjust your diet and activity levels to ensure you get the best of both worlds during your detox program.

  • How it works

Exercise can kick start the natural detox process; it flushes out the lungs and encourages food to pass through the gut quicker, but it also opens up the pores and cleanses the skin as we work up a sweat. That increased blood flow promotes better circulation and helps pump white blood cells through the body to help the organs cleanse themselves effectively. Drinking water will help revitalise kidney function, and you’ll sweat more too.

Essentially, the toxins hanging around the body are expelled though exhalation, urine and sweat, and working out speeds up all three processes.

So, if you’re an active person already then you can afford to take the exercise down a notch when you’re detoxing and know that you’re still doing great things for your body.

  • Take it a little easier

Don’t overdo it physically if you’re detoxing – there’s no need and the effects could be counter-productive. If you run a lot, for example, think about switching your morning outing for a brisk 20-30 minute walk while you’re on your detox.

Avoid all-out sprints, intense intervals and long training sessions during your detox. All that impact and metabolic stress can be difficult for the digestive system to cope with during this transitional time and can leave you feeling faint.

  • But do keep moving

Exercises that work the core are great for detoxing. Stomach crunches and abdominal twists helps encourage waste to pass through the large and small intestines quicker.

Some activities complement the natural detox process better than others, and hot yoga is one of them. It won’t put cardiovascular stress on the body but it will accelerate your detox by generating a sweat. Yoga poses are known for their detoxifying powers, helping the removal of toxins in the muscle tissue as you compress and stretch the limbs. Yoga is also a great mental detox, as most classes involve some sort of meditation element to help unclutter the mind to focus on what’s important: you and your wellbeing.

  • Up your energy intake

Whether you’re doing a three day soup and juice fast or a month-long vegan detox diet, if you’re exercising a lot you should consider making small adjustments to your plan.

Quinoa is worth incorporating into your detox diet as it is rich in fibre but low GI, giving your body a steady supply of energy throughout the day. It’s also high in protein. Look up a quinoa granola or muesli recipe to get an energy fix first thing.

Bananas are rich in potassium, which is excellent for combating tiredness and helping repair nerve and muscle function when you exercise.

Choose plant-based proteins from nut sources as they feed the muscles and provide sustained energy. Chop some brazil nuts into your morning smoothie or snack on walnuts when you feel your energy levels dipping.

Beans and legumes play a similar role as well as being very tasty and filling; try a mixed bean salad for lunch or spicy bean burgers for supper.

Finally, leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard are all mineral-rich and packed full of essential nutrients for keeping energy levels high. Make a green juice part of your new detox habit, and get plenty of spinach into your salads.

By combining the right sort of detox with appropriate exercise you can get the best of both worlds. There is no need to go over-the-top on either the detox or the exercise – a good balance will get you the best results.

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