There are plenty of occasions when sweating profusely is less than ideal. We've all been there, splashing frantically at our armpits in the loos of a club, or suffering through a social occasion with arms clamped firmly to our sides.
So, it's all too easy to forget that when we sweat it's a result of wonderful things happening to our body.
At least, that's how Ilona Wesle of My Detox Diet sees it. When we said we needed some more convincing, she explained why sweating was so beneficial.
"Sweating is your body's unique way of cleansing and detoxing," says Ilona. "When we sweat, our heart is working harder and our circulation accelerates, giving us that lovely post-workout (or post-sauna) glow. And as our circulation improves, toxins and other impurities are expelled from our system through our open pores."
Ilona also says that sweating can also help us burn calories. "Sweat is our body's response to our temperature rising," she says. "We sweat to bring our body temperature back down to normal, and this process itself burns calories. Remember that next time you get all hot and bothered - you've just treated yourself to a mini detox!"
5 WAYS TO HAVE A DETOXING SWEAT
1. Bikram or Hot Yoga
If burning up to 1,000 calories in a ninety minute session isn't reason enough to join the celebs and get on the Bikram bandwagon, consider this: your heart works just as hard in a hot yoga session as it does when you're running a mile. And practising yoga stretches in a hot environment allows you to attain deeper levels of stretching without putting your limbs and joints under stress.
Still not convinced? Bikram yoga postures are detoxifying for your organs and muscles, plus there is all the deep cleansing sweat you'll expel.
2. Sauna / Steam Room
There's a reason why countless cultures throughout history swear by the power of a good steam. Some traditions even regard the ritual of sitting in a steam room or sweat lodge as spiritual: a deep-cleansing rebirth of sorts. Others consider it an act of emotional purification, releasing pent-up stress through heating up and soothing the organs and muscles while ridding the body of harmful toxins at the same time.
Take advantage of a steam room or sauna next time you're at the gym or health club.
3. Detox Wrap
Treat yourself to a detox wrap and allow yourself to be covered head to toe in a wholesome, muddy mixture of sea salts, seaweed, herbs and aloe vera. Then just lie back… and let the magic happen.
The detox wrap will heat up on the skin whilst simultaneously drawing out those yucky toxins. Then get rinsed off and enjoy a deep, scrubbed-up glow. Wonderfully relaxing.
This is the cheapest form of exercise and great for those who can't commit to workout classes or other organised fitness regimes. Just pull on your running shoes and hit the road. Run throughout the winter to burn more calories keeping your body warm, and run in warm weather to burn up extra calories sweating to keep you cool.
5. lyashi Dome
A pioneering detox and weight loss treatment. There's only one Iyashi Dome in London (found at My Detox Diet in Greenwich, mydetoxdiet.co.uk) and lying in this clever little pod for 30 minutes can burn up to 600 calories.
And how exactly do we burn that many calories lying down? Sweating, of course. The Iyashi Dome exposes the body to organic infrared rays that warm up the body, bringing on an invigorating and detoxifying sweat. And don't worry - your head stays outside the dome so there's none of that "OMG CANT BREATHE" feeling that some people experience in a sauna. Within minutes you'll feel yourself sweating in places you never knew you could.
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