Updated: Jan 19, 2022
It’s true. The first couple weeks of getting into a workout routine can feel pretty miserable. I know when I started going to the gym again last year, I felt heavy, sluggish, and irritable. The only thing that got me through was the memory of it getting easier at some point. I knew that if I pushed all this garbage out of my tissues, eventually it would be easier. It felt like all of the resistance and avoidance of taking charge of my life was stuck in my body, and I had to work it out. My physical blocks were my mental and emotional blocks. I had to push through, or they would just build up more. And then what? I didn’t want to think about that. I would rather suffer through 30 minutes on the elliptical a few days a week. I would feel my body warm up in spots, but I didn’t break a sweat. I was just so blocked. But that internal heat I created eventually started pushing out the crud.
I guess my point is, I know it sucks at first, but you have to work through your resistance. In Chinese medicine, this resistance is Qi stagnation and dampness. Qi can be emotional energy blockage that you feel in your body. Exercise reduces stress, tension, and depression by moving the stuck qi.
Dampness is the heaviness, the weight you might have put on, the build up in your tissues that’s in the way of a good sweat. Without the dampness, you probably feel really good after exercise. You start out tired, but then are full of energy. When dampness is part of the equation, you don’t get that immediate high. You have to build up enough heat to burn through that sluggish, heavy, sticky accumulation.
Foods That Transform Dampness
Here are some foods you can add to your diet to help clear out this dampness faster, and foods to avoid if you don’t want to add more.
Radishes and turnips
Basmati or jasmine rice
Mung, lentil, and aduki beans
Aromatic herbs and spices
Foods That Can Cause Dampness
There are also foods that will cause more dampness. Avoid these foods.
Refined grains (crackers, cookies, bread)
Unpronouncable food additives
Fried foods, chips
Over-eating in general
Eating foods your are sensitive to (possibly wheat, dairy, corn, soy, eggs)
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Can Help
Acupuncture can help you with your goals. It balances and centers you. It can help you feel more energized, uplifted, and motivated. There are acupuncture points to help drain that dampness out of your body and help you in your dietary changes. It’s also useful to balance your physical alignment, and reduce aches and pains from a new workout regime.
Chinese herbs help along these same lines. They can also be used to boost your energy levels, if the sluggishness you feel is really more from being depleted than stagnant. Herbs like ginseng are great for this.
Benefits of Baths
One more helpful tip when you are just starting out-Epsom salt baths! These baths really do help with the soreness you might feel after a good workout. You need at least 1 full cup of salt for this, so don’t be shy.