The word “detoxification” is flung around the fitness community as frequently as kettlebells are swung.
Yoga teachers regularly speak of detoxifying twists, aerobics instructors of detoxifying sweat, dieters of detoxifying fasts. But health professionals are skeptical.
“If you start talking about exercising to detoxify, there’s no scientific data,” said Elizabeth Matzkin, chief of women’s sports medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The human body is designed to get rid of what we don’t need.”
The same applies to fasting.
“No good scientific data supports any of those cleanses, whether you drink juice, or (only) water for a week,” she said.
Exercise is important, Matzkin added, because it enables our body to do what it is made to do, but the kidneys and colon get rid of waste. The role of exercise in that process is unclear.
“In general exercise helps our lungs; kidneys get rid of things that can cause us onset of disease,” she said.
A healthy lifestyle — eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising — is important to detoxifying because it enables our body to do what is intended to do.
“As for specific yoga moves, I’m not so sure,” she said.