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Exercise While Fasting

Categories: Fasting
Sources: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor

The issue of how much activity is called for on a fast is

controversial. Natural Hygienists in the Herbert Shelton tradition

insist that all fasters absolutely must have complete bed rest, with

no books, no TV, no visitors, no enemas, no exercise, no music, and

of course no food, not even a cup of herb tea. In my many years of

conducting people through fasts, I have yet to meet an individual

that could mentally tolerat
this degree of nothingness. It is too

drastic a withdrawal from all the stimulation people are used to in

the twentieth century. I still don't know how Shelton managed to

make his patients do it, but my guess is that he must have been a

very intimidating guy. Shelton was a body builder of some renown in

his day. I bet Shelton's patients kept a few books and magazines

under their mattress and only took them out when he wasn't looking.

If I had tried to enforced this type of sensory deprivation, I know

my patients would have grabbed their clothes and run, vowing never

to fast again. I think it is most important that people fast, and

that they feel so good about the experience that they want to do it

again, and talk all their sick friends into doing the same thing.

In contrast to enforced inactivity, Russian researchers who

supervised schizophrenics on 30 day water fasts insisted that they

walk for three hours every day, without stopping. I would like to

have been there to see how they managed to enforce that. I suspect

some patients cheated. I lived with schizophrenics enough years to

know that it is very difficult to get them to do anything that they

don't want to do, and very few of them are into exercise, especially

when fasting.

In my experience both of these approaches to activity during the

fast are extremes. The correct activity level should be arrived at

on an individual basis. I have had clients who walked six miles a

day during an extended water fast, but they were not feeling very

sick when they started the fast, and they were also physically fit.

In contrast I have had people on extended fasts who were unable to

walk for exercise, or so weak they were unable to even walk to the

bathroom, but these people were critically ill when they started

fasting, and desperately needed to conserve what little vital force

they had for healing.

Most people who are not critically ill need to walk at least 200

yards twice a day, with assistance if necessary, if only to move the

lymph through the system. The lymphatic system is a network of ducts

and nodes which are distributed throughout the body, with high

concentrations of nodes in the neck, chest, arm pits, and groin. Its

job is to carry waste products from the extremities to the center of

the body where they can be eliminated. The blood is circulated

through the arteries and veins in the body by the contractions of

the heart, but the lymphatic system does not have a pump. Lymphatic

fluid is moved by the contractions of the muscles, primarily those

of the arms and legs. If the faster is too weak to move, massage and

assisted movements are essential.

Lymph nodes are also a part of our immune system and produce white

blood cells to help control invading organisms. When the lymph is

overloaded with waste products the ducts and nodes swell, and until

the source of the local irritation is removed, are incapable of

handling further debris. If left in this condition for years they

become so hard they feel like rocks under the skin. Lumps in the

armpits or the groin are prime sites for the future development of a

cancer. Fasting, massage, and poultices will often soften overloaded

lymph nodes and coax them back into operation.