If you’re suffering from Candida, you might be feeling a little lackluster. Don’t worry, these symptoms are totally normal, and will disappear as you work through your Candida treatment plan.
But instead of simply putting up with these symptoms (or lying around feeling miserable), how about going for a jog? Or lifting some weights? Believe it or not, it will actually help you feel better!
Exercise is one part of the Candida treatment protocol that many people overlook. If your Candida symptoms are dragging you down, exercise is a fantastic way to help you on your road to recovery. Whether you use it to complement to your dieting routine or simply to improve your fitness, daily exercise will help to speed your Candida treatment as well as relieving symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog.
Why Exercise Helps With Candida Treatment
Boosts Detoxification Pathways
Exercise causes the heart to pump faster, which in turn stimulates the lymphatic system. Because the lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste products and toxins from your cells, it can have the overall effect of speeding up your body’s detoxification pathways. A sluggish lymphatic system can allow viruses, bacteria and fungi to accumulate in your body.
Exercise also helps speed up liver detoxification by activating detoxification pathways. This allows your body to flush out toxins, waste and other harmful substances more efficiently. When there are fewer toxins in your circulatory system, your microbiome can spend more time fighting off the Candida yeast and other pathogenic species in your gut. In short, exercise can ramp up the effects of your Candida cleanse without any extra supplements!
Exercise can be particularly helpful in avoiding Candida Die-off. By eliminating more toxins, it prevents the buildup of Candida metabolites such as acetaldehyde.
Increases Diaphoresis (Sweating)
Exercise burns calories, as you know. What you might not know is that the calorie-burning process involves thermogenesis: the burning of energy through heat production. Heat causes your body to sweat in order to cool down properly. That sweat being released through your pores is actually loaded with toxins and other substances that your body needs to get rid of. Think of cardio as a natural cleanser!
This is also why it’s super important to replace those lost fluids with clean, filtered water before and after you exercise.
Boosts The Immune System
A study published in the medical journal Gut reports that increasing your daily exercise quota – while also eating well – can have huge benefits for your immune system. It’s believed that exercise helps to boost the diverse range of beneficial microorganisms in the gut, which is where the majority of your immune cells reside.
The researchers found that athletes have higher amounts of exercise from training and playing sports. Those with good nutritional intake improved the biodiversity of their microbiota even further. This is highly important for both preventing and fighting off pathogenic bacteria or Candida yeasts in the body.
Reduces Stress Levels
Also important is the fact that exercise increases production of those ‘feel good’ chemicals, endorphins. These chemicals boost your feelings of positivity and help to relieve stress. As you probably already know, stress can cause cortisol levels to stay elevated for long periods of time. This is linked to higher blood sugar levels, which feeds the Candida yeast. Stress also slows down your metabolism.
Balances Blood Sugar
Even moderate exercise such as walking can help to increase your heart rate, which means your heart is working harder to pump blood to your muscles. At the same time, your muscles will be using more glucose, or blood sugar. Exercising regularly can help to lower your blood sugar levels and also make the insulin in your body work more efficiently. The great thing is that these benefits can continue for hours after your exercise session.
How To Exercise Without Hating It
When most people think about exercise, they imagine having to join a gym or run laps on a track. That’s not always the case! You can get exercise with gentle, low-impact activities, or simply making a few changes to your daily routine.
The other important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Your body may be slightly weakened while your immune system is fighting off those Candida yeasts, so there’s no point in trying to run a marathon just yet!
Allow yourself to build up your fitness slowly, and stop if you feel lightheaded or out of breath. Your strength will improve from week to week, so increasing your workload won’t seem difficult at all.
- Start by walking briskly for at least 15 minutes per day. Aim to increase this to 30 minutes a day, then up to an hour 5-6 days a week. This may sound difficult at first – especially if you’re normally a couch potato! But once you start, you’ll find that your body will adjust very quickly to the physical activity and it will be easy to increase your distance and speed. Try joining a local walking group so that it feels more like a social outing than exercise. Or, borrow a dog to take walking!
- Lifting weights is an excellent form of exercise and hugely beneficial during the Candida Diet, no matter how fit you are (or aren’t). Weight training builds muscle, and the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism. It goes without saying that a faster metabolism will help you to burn more glucose over the day, keeping your blood sugar levels in balance. That’s good news for you and bad news for your Candida! The important thing to remember is that you have to keep feeding those muscles you’re building, which we will explain below.
- A surprisingly effective way to keep up your motivation is to get a pedometer, Fitbit, or an exercise tracking app. When you see how many steps you’ve walked in a day and how many calories you’ve burned, you’ll naturally want to match or beat your ‘personal best’ each day. This could see you getting out and about more than you ever thought possible!
- If walking isn’t for you, try joining a gym. Gyms provide a huge variety of equipment: cardio, classes, weights and sometimes even a pool. Working out in a communal environment is also great for motivation! A few sessions with a personal trainer can help set you up with a routine catered to your needs and goals.
- Those with joint problems aren’t exempt from exercise, sorry: you just need to find a form that suits you. In fact, it may be a great way to improve flexibility and reduce pain. You may be better off with non-weight bearing exercise such as swimming or cycling. Both of these are excellent for boosting the heart rate while reducing the risk of harm to your body.
- Elliptical trainers are great for any size, weight and fitness level. They provide a full-body cardio workout: arms, legs, torso, butt – while also minimizing the impact on your knees and hips. You can use them at any gym or purchase/rent one to use at home. You can even watch TV while using it! Just 20 minutes a day can have fantastic benefits for your Candida regime.
- Yoga is one of the easiest and most holistic exercise regimes, with benefits for both the mind and body. Numerous studies have shown that yoga can not only help to improve physical strength and fitness, but also relieve stress and emotional tension. This makes it an excellent option for boosting the effects of a Candida cleanse while also supporting your psychological wellbeing. Because yoga helps to focus on mindfulness and being in the present moment, you may find it helps you to stick to your diet more easily.
Looking After Yourself While Exercising On The Candida Diet
As mentioned above, it’s quite common to be feeling slightly under the weather while on your Candida program. Lack of energy or fatigue is one of the most common symptoms. That’s why it’s important to support your exercise routine with the right nutrition – while still sticking to the Candida diet plan.
Eat Well (And Enough!)
The Candida Diet means you have to cut out certain foods that your body may have previously relied on for fuel. And when you start increasing your daily levels of physical exercise, you might find yourself quite hungry!
Don’t panic: you can still maintain your healthy diet and exercise without starving yourself or bingeing on the wrong foods. The best way to do this is to increase your protein and fiber intake. Protein helps with muscle repair, so it’s a great way to support a new exercise routine. Protein also increases feelings of fullness and satiety, which means you’ll be less likely to succumb to hunger cravings.
Choose Candida Diet-friendly proteins such as planet-based protein powder (see below), lean meats and nuts.
Pea or Hemp Protein Powder
Pea protein is a concentrated form of protein derived from peas, while hemp protein powder is derived from hemp seeds. Because both of these are a concentrated form of one macronutrient, they’re almost more like a supplement than a whole food.
When you’re on a restricted diet such as the Candida Diet, and/or you’re exercising more than usual, your body’s protein needs will increase. Pea or hemp protein powder is dairy-free, sugar-free and gluten-free. Each will deliver the amino acids that your body needs to replenish muscle cells and support your metabolism.
They’re also completely safe for the Candida diet, and can be easily incorporated into smoothies. Just be sure to check the nutritional label for any added sugars or dairy products (such as whey) or artificial flavors.
Fat is an essential fuel for the body, providing a readily-available source of energy that can sustain you for longer periods than sugary foods.
“Good fats” can actually support your body through Candida die-off. If you choose the right ones, you can add another weapon in your fight against Candida! Healthy fats such as extra-virgin organic coconut oil harbor antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and have been shown to inhibit the spread of Candida yeasts. The great thing about coconut oil is that it can be easily added to smoothies, beverages or used as an alternative to butter.
Other plant-based fats such as nuts and avocado are also excellent sources of healthy fats, protein and fiber. almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts, which are packed with nutrients and have a low mold content.
Many gyms and sporting environments promote sports drinks as a great way of replacing lost fluids and electrolytes. Unfortunately, these commercial drinks are often loaded with sugar, sweeteners and artificial flavors which will NOT help your Candida cleanse! It’s important to stick to fresh, clean water while exercising. This will not only keep you hydrated, but will help your body flush out those toxins. A general guideline is drink around half a liter of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising, then around 250ml during every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. Once you’ve completed your workout, try to drink at least another half-liter of water within 30 minutes.
Exercise Your Way Out Of Candida
The benefits of exercise go well beyond just getting fit or losing a few pounds. Sure, you may burn some excess calories and trim down your waistline, but you’ll also be boosting your body’s ability to fight off the Candida yeast in your gut.
Exercise is one of the greatest stimulants you can give your body – and you’ll be rewarded in so many ways. Increasing your heart rate for 30 minutes or so each day will speed up your detoxification pathways and lymphatic system, allowing those nasty yeasts and pathogens to be flushed out more easily.
You’ll also be improving the efficiency of your immune system, which will help your microbiome to overcome any imbalances in your gut bacteria.
Best of all, you’ll feel a lot less stressed (and/or depressed), which will contribute to lower levels of cortisol in your bloodstream and a better functioning metabolism.
With all that in mind, there’s no excuse not to lace up those trainers!