Today I’d like to focus on the second E in the RENEW Total Body Detox program as you Energize your entire body – and by that I mean your immune system as well as your mind and spirit. Listen closely – I don’t encourage you to add new movement programs into your schedule until you have developed your stable routine around food choices.
It’s important to understand that a functional lymphatic system is a critical aspect of detoxification. You’ll recall that lymph is the clear fluid filled with immune cells that moves around the body in a series of vessels, delivering nutrients and collecting cellular waste while helping to destroy pathogens. Both breathing and movement serve to powerfully stimulate lymph flow and immune function.
The Magic of Deep Breathing
The mere act of breathing in and out encourages lymph circulation through the body. The deeper you breathe, the more you can achieve this effect. It has long been known that exercise stimulates this movement of lymphatic fluid, but the role of breathing wasn’t entirely recognized until technology provided the means to photograph lymph flow. This direct observation shows that deep breathing causes the lymph to shoot through the capillaries like a geyser. Therefore, you can think of the breath as the pump for stimulation of lymph flow.
Our daily lives are stressful and most of us are shallow breathers, which means we just breathe in our upper chest, and don’t fill the diaphragm, rib cage and intestinal area regularly with oxygen. So here is a good breathing exercise you can do anywhere, at any time.
Simple breath to free stress – and Energize~
As you inhale, count to 7 and allow your ribcage and abdomen to expand. Then hold that breath for a count of 7. Finally slowly exhale to the count of 7. Try it and let me know if you feel the same stress relief that I notice whenever I remember to do this simple process.
The Magic of Movement
Movement of your body squeezes lymph nodes, which are concentrated in the neck, underarms, groin and behind the knees, helping to pump toxins out of the body.
Slow movement exercises, such as yoga and tail chi can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Yoga, which I like to do, focuses on both stretching and controlled breathing.
Walking, one of the most accessible forms of exercise is also the perfect starting point for people who are not accustomed to any type of physical activity. As you build up to longer, more rigorous walks you’ll begin to sweat more and unload toxins through your skin.
Whether you’re choosing a 20-30 minute walk after dinner each night, or three 10-minute walks throughout the day, your health benefit will be the same. Leisurely, slow-paced strolls won’t accomplish this if your goal is to Energize.
Your goal in any movement program over time will be increase the workload of your lungs and heart. You’ll notice your heart rate will naturally increase as your breathing comes more quickly (and deeply).
A word of caution here. If you are transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle into one that incorporates regular exercise, please start slowly. Gradually increase the time you engage in your chosen activity and the intensity of your effort. All too often I watch people go too fast and end up tired, strained, and sometimes injured. Before long, they are physically and mentally burned out. They lose interest and soon enough they are back where they started. Please don’t let this be you!
No matter your movement choice, remember to place your attention on your breath, keeping in mind how effective full breathing is to your health. I can’t stress this often enough.
Awesome benefits of movement!
Check out these 13 inspirational reasons to exercise! You will dramatically support detoxification at many levels, too.
- Increased stamina and energy
- Increased flexibility
- Increased blood circulation
- Better sleep
- Stress reduction
- Increased self-esteem and sense of well-being
- Increased oxygen supply to cells and tissues
- Increased muscle strength, tone and endurance
- Release of brain chemicals called endorphins that act as natural tranquilizers
- Increased progesterone and decreased estrogen production in women, potentially easing PMS and cramps
- Decreased food cravings
- Decreased blood sugar levels
- Weight distribution and maintenance
Stretching and Cooling Down
Don’t forget to stretch after any exercise routine (never before). Stretching is important to keep your body limber, but it should not be done without having warmed up your muscles first through other exercises. Stretching will then help your muscles recover faster, prevent tightening, and increase flexibility. Your goal is to comfortably hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Endocrine system out of balance? Energize!
No discussion of tools to Energize your body can be complete without recognizing the hormonal system and the impact that has on your overall vitality. Your hormonal system includes many more organs and glands than those I’ll mention here. The complex interaction of your endocrine glands intensely affects you in so many ways including your sleep, your weight, and your overall sense of wellbeing. A full discussion of these systems is out of the scope of this post, but can be found in my recent book, The Road to Perfect Health.
Today’s tips will focus specifically on the adrenal and thyroid glands.
As discussed previously, toxins like fire retardants and perchlorate from dry cleaning can impact the efficiency of these endocrine glands.
According to thyroid.org, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
Additionally, adrenal fatigue is a surprisingly common affliction, with some experts stating that 80 percent of the Western world can expect to be affected at some point in their lives, as stated by adrenalfatiguefocus.org.
Please check back shortly for my next post where I will detail two of my favorite movement exercise programs – rebounding and strength training with exercise bands. Until then – breathe and Energize!