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Should you exercise during juice cleanse?

Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to detox and reset your diet. During a juice cleanse, you consume only fresh fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time, usually around 3-5 days. Some people choose to incorporate exercise into their cleanse, while others opt for full rest and relaxation. So should you exercise during a juice cleanse? There are pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Exercising During a Juice Cleanse

Here are some potential benefits of continuing to exercise during a juice cleanse:

  • May help boost fat burning and weight loss – Exercise can help burn additional calories and fat when you are consuming a very low calorie diet during the cleanse.
  • Supports metabolism – Exercise helps rev up your metabolism, which may facilitate the detox process.
  • Reduces fatigue – Light to moderate exercise can help increase energy and reduce fatigue that often comes with dramatic dietary changes.
  • Aids muscle maintenance – Continuing strength training during a cleanse may help minimize potential muscle loss.
  • Improves circulation – Exercise gets the blood flowing, which may help eliminate toxins and waste products from the body.
  • Alleviates restlessness – Some people feel restless on a juice cleanse. Light activity can help provide an outlet for pent-up energy.

Cons of Exercising During a Juice Cleanse

Here are some potential drawbacks of continuing your normal exercise routine during a juice cleanse:

  • Fatigue & low energy – The very low calorie intake may leave you feeling too fatigued for vigorous exercise.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness – These symptoms are common during juice cleanses. Exercise may exacerbate them.
  • Muscle loss – The low protein intake makes the body prone to catabolism of muscle for fuel.
  • Lower athletic performance – Your speed, strength and endurance are likely to decline without proper fuel.
  • Increased risk of overtraining – Your body is already stressed by the cleanse, so added exercise stresses need to be managed.
  • Higher risk of injury – Fatigue, weakness and low fuel intake increase injury likelihood with exercise.

Tips for Exercising Safely During a Juice Cleanse

If you choose to exercise during a juice cleanse, here are some tips to help make it safer and more effective:

  • Only do light to moderate intensity exercise like walking, yoga or Pilates.
  • Reduce your normal workout duration and frequency.
  • Pay very close attention to your body. Stop if you feel faint, dizzy or nauseous.
  • Drink fluids before, during and after your workout.
  • Choose a familiar activity done at a low to moderate intensity.
  • Consider doing mainly strength training vs. high intensity cardiovascular exercise.
  • Listen to your body and allow for plenty of rest as needed.

Sample Exercise Schedule During a Juice Cleanse

Here is a sample low-intensity exercise plan you could follow during a 3 day juice cleanse:

Day 1 30 minute walk
Day 2 Light yoga session
Day 3 Rest or gentle stretching

Nutrients to Pay Attention to While Exercising During a Cleanse

When exercising during a juice cleanse, be mindful that you will be lacking in certain nutrients normally obtained from whole foods. Focus on getting enough of the following nutrients from juices to support your activity:

Nutrient Why It’s Important Juices High in This Nutrient
Protein Preserves muscle and repairs tissues Nut milks, pea protein powder, green juices with leafy greens
Carbs Fuels muscles Fruit juices like apple, orange, grape, mango
Potassium Supports nerve and muscle function Coconut water, spinach, kale, banana, avocado
Sodium Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance Add pinch sea salt to juices

The Bottom Line on Exercise During Juice Cleanses

In general, light to moderate exercise can be maintained during a juice cleanse for many people. However, everyone reacts differently to severe dietary changes. Pay close attention to how you feel, reduce exercise intensity, duration and frequency substantially, and always allow for adequate rest during a cleanse.

If you feel significant fatigue, weakness, dizziness or other unpleasant symptoms, it may be best to refrain from exercise altogether and focus 100% of your energy on rest and recovery during your juice cleanse. Always consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet or exercise habits.