The human body is designed to move. A sedentary body doesn't function as well as an active one, and this applies to the detoxification systems of the body as well. I don't advocate overtraining, but aside from times of healing when activity might be limited temporarily, regular activity is a key component in general health and detoxification.
Why? Because when the body is stagnant, its components tend to be stagnant as well. This includes the circulatory and lymphatic systems, both of which play a significant role in natural detoxification processes. The lymphatic system especially requires movement to facilitate lymph flow, because it doesn't have an organ like the heart to pump it. Exercise also encourages improved oxygen delivery and aids the elimination of toxins through the lungs.
Luckily, virtually any activity that gets your body moving--even just a little--is going to provide cleansing benefits. So you don't have to join a gym (if you don't want to) or plug in an aerobics DVD every day (if that's not your thing). Walking, biking, swimming, tennis, yoga, pilates, tai chi, strength training, roller skating or just about any activity that moves your body is going to be fine. So the point is, find out what you enjoy and do that. Then you can have fun and stick to it, and probably gain some stress-relief in the process in addition to all the physical benefits.
The Absolute Best Exercise for Detoxification
Like I said, just about any activity will facilitate detoxification. But there is a certain type of exercise that really shines in this department: rebounding. Or basically jumping on a mini trampoline. To quote Bruce Fife in The Detox Book:
"The up-and-down motion compresses and decompresses the body tissues and fluids. Toxins are squeezed out of cells and tissues as lymph fluid is pushed throughout the body. Rebound exercise is the best lymph-pumping exercise known. As a results of this pumping action, toxins are washed out of tissues throughout the entire body and flushed out. Rebound exercise is such an effective detoxifier that it can initiate a healing crisis in a matter of days."
These benefits can even extend to the digestive system and encourage the removal of toxic waste through the colon. This can improve regularity and prevent toxins from being reabsorbed due to sluggish digestion.
Rebounding can also improve your sense of balance. When I first got on my rebounder I almost twisted my ankle pretty bad several times. I felt pretty clumsy. But after a couple sessions, I got really comfortable on it and now can do several different exercises on it that seemed impossible to do at first.
The great thing about rebounding is that it can be done regardless of your current fitness level. If you're really out of shape you can start with just 30-60 seconds at a time of gentle bouncing and work up from there. Just a few minutes a day can provide the benefits described above.
If you're a seasoned athlete you might think rebounding isn't challenging enough, but you would be wrong. Rebounding can get your heart rate up fast, especially if you incorporate some advanced moves into your routine:
*Warning: Do NOT try these if you are a rebounding novice. Seriously, you could break some bones!
And honestly, rebounding is fun. The first time I jumped for about 20-30 seconds and then hopped off for a short break. My heart was pounding and I didn't even feel like I did anything! So it really gets the blood pumping, even though you feel like you're tapping into some pleasant childhood experience rather than doing a workout.
The type of rebounder you get can impact your experience. For a lot of people, a sturdy mini-trampoline will do. These run about $40-50 for a decent one. But a high-quality rebounder will generally have better bounce and less impact. Someone who has joint issues might want to invest in a quality system to ensure a low-impact workout. Of course, the investment is more substantial, at least $90 (some are priced at well over $300!), but some say you get what you pay for.