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Cathy's Fitness Column: Time for Spring Cleaning

25 Feb 2007

Have you had the sudden urge to start cleaning out your closets? There just may be an underlying biological reason that has us thinking about cleaning each spring. In classical Chinese medicine the liver is associated with the spring, a time for clearing out the old and making room for the new.

The same is also true for our bodies. Spring is a particularly good time to cleanse and detoxify our bodies. Just as our homes, our cars and our closets need a good spring cleaning; our bodies also benefit for a good purge.  After months with minimal sunshine, being cooped up indoors midst the heating systems and indulging in more “hibernation” foods, our bodies are more than ready for a spring cleaning.

So, how do you go about cleansing? What exactly is cleansing? What is the best cleansing system? How long should you cleanse? What are the dangers? If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions then read on.

Why Cleanse?

Cleansing is to gives the body a fresh start; an opportunity for your body to eliminate existing toxins and better cope with the burdens we place on it. Over time toxins such as additives, preservatives, food additives, allergens, bacteria, germs, parasites, heavy metals, viruses, drugs and tap water build up in our bodies. In fact, there are billions of pounds of pollutants dumped in the environment every year.

These toxins prevent our bodies from functioning at their optimal level if they are not properly removed. Toxicity manifests in the body in the form of disease, sickness and pain. If you suffer from any of the following ailments- you may need to cleanse: constipation, impaired digestion, Candida infections, parasite infestations, recurring headaches, bad breath, hemorrhoids, irritability, frequent colds, protruding belly, low energy, inability to focus or concentrate, poor memory, poor sleep patterns, poor skin complexion, inability to lose weight and irritable bowel syndrome. From the list you can see that most of us can probably use a cleanse.

How to Cleanse?

1.       The first step is to make sure you are eating a healthy diet. See a nutritionist or naturopath to learn what a healthy diet is for you; what is good for one person might be another person’s poison. Remember, a cleanse will not improve your health if it is not supported by a healthy diet.

2.       Exercise. It helps to eliminate toxins from your body through your sweat glands.

3.       Drink a lot of water. Without getting too complicated, drinking at least 8-10  cups of clean filtered water per day is still a great rule to follow.  If you exercise intensely or are overweight then you should increase your intake accordingly.

4.       Store bought cleanses -There are hundreds of different types of cleanses available. They range from mild to severe. Many focus on different organs in the body such as the liver, colon, lymphatic system or blood. Some focus on different health concerns such as parasite or yeast cleanses. I suggest you do your research when choosing a cleanse that’s right for you. Be sure that the products are all natural- ideally organic. They should not have a list of additives or preservatives which are counter-productive. Look for organic herbs and natural cleansing ingredients like  garlic, red clover, echinacea, dandelion, cayenne pepper, ginger root, licorice root, golden seal, burdock root, Sarsaparilla root, parsley root, milk thistle. ( to name a few)

Side Effects

Some people may experience side effect while cleansing. They can include headaches, constipation, chills, nausea, dizziness, rashes or upset stomach. Let your body be your guide. If side effects are too severe then try a more gradual approach. A simple way to begin cleansing is to eliminate all toxic materials from your diet. The big culprits are caffeine, all simple or refined sugar, alcohol, red meat, processed foods and refined foods.

My personal favorite is the Isagenix Cleansing and Detox. System. It helps cleanse the colon, intestines, blood and lymphatics. The real bonuses for me were the increased energy and improved mental focus.

I strongly recommend you consult a nutritionist or naturopath to find the cleanse that’s right for you.

Exercise of the Month - Side Plank- works core

Instructions:
1. Lay on the ground on one side. Raise your body using one forearm and support it in this raised position for the required time. (10-30 seconds)
2. Lower your body and repeat on the other side.
3. Remember to keep your head, neck and body in a straight line.


Cathy Morenzie is a Fitness Columnist for AfroToronto.com

Cathy Morenzie is a certified personal fitness trainer, fitness instructor and Pilates instructor. Cathy specializes in providing creative fitness solutions for people on the go and has trained thousands of clients and trainers over the last 20 years.  For more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://www.activeimage.ca . or call 416-410-8517. Can't fit personal training sessions into your schedule … no problem - try our online personal training and receive the benefits of one-on-one personal training at a fraction of the cost.

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