Detox at the Bar. Yes, the bar.

January and detoxing go together like December and sugar cookies. So many of us wake from two-months of relatively unbridled holiday indulgence, and realize it’s time to reel it back in. Externally, the idea of detoxification is front-and-center this month. With a new year comes a new chance to set intentions and goals to be a better version of our authentic selves.

But let’s quite all of the outside noise for a moment- What’s your body telling you? How do you feel on a daily basis? If your body is currently taxed with toxins, here are a few ways it may tell you:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Irritability
  • Bloating and swelling
  • Sinus issues
  • Frequent headaches

From cold-pressed juices, to eliminating chemicals from our diet and skincare regimen, there are a lot of ways we can boost our body’s natural detoxification processes. But one of the most effective ways, and maybe my favorite, is through an awesomely sweaty, shaky barre class. Here are three ways barre class promotes detoxification in the body…

Burn baby, burn. There are actually only two types of toxins that enter our bodies- water-soluble toxins, which are carried out through the blood and kidneys, and fat-soluble toxins– the more destructive type that can dwell inside our fat cells.

Fat-soluble toxins make their way into our systems by way of pesticides, heavy metals preservatives and other pollutants. Ideally, these toxins will be processed by the lymphatic system and expelled from the body, but if the body is compromised, these toxins make their way into fat cells where they cause free radical damage over time.

During exercise, body heat and circulation increase and fat-soluble toxins are expelled from the cells and carried out through sweat. Additionally, the twists and bends we do in barre class work to stimulate the intestinal tract, which move toxins (and everything else) right along before they’re absorbed by the intestinal wall.

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Lymphatic Love. Along with the liver and kidneys, the lymphatic system plays a massive role in the process of detoxification. It runs parallel with major blood vessels and is responsible for removing waste from every cell in the body- that’s no easy feat and when it’s not working properly, everything else can suffer. A lymphatic system that is clogged will often let you know with itchy/ dull skin, bloating, stiffness in the morning, brain “fog”, constipation, swelling in the fingers and weight gain.

The rhythmic stretches and deep breathing we do in in barre happen to be excellent for lymphatic drainage. Our lungs pump lymphatic fluid while increased circulation and body heat improve lymphatic flow.

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Relieve stress, release toxins. Stress and toxins have a cyclical relationship. On one hand, stress and anxiety can be a symptom of a body that is overloaded with toxins. On the other, stress can make it harder for the body to eliminate toxins.

Additionally, stress can lead to insomnia and make us more apt to reach for junk foods, which further disrupt the detoxification process. A good workout is one of the best ways to nip this unhealthy cycle in the bud. It serves as a reset button for an overtaxed mind, releasing tension in the body and sending toxins on their way.

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Just like in every area of wellness, we really reap the long-term rewards of detoxing when it becomes a lifestyle. It’s not about perfection, but the transformation that comes from the daily habit of drinking that extra bottle of water, adding greens added to each meal and, most importantly, making it to barre class 3-5 times a week. Once we’re in that consistent rhythm of making better choices, of showing up- the hard part is over. So, here’s to achieving and maintaining a constant state of cleansing in the New Year!

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