Energize yourself with natural therapies

For years it was believed that exercise improves health and controls chronic diseases. But recent studies have shown the not so good effects of exercise and many clinical reports are linked to its effects on a compromised immune system.

How much exercise is good and how much more is harmful?

Understanding yourself
Understanding what category you fall in can help you determine how much exercise you need as well as the type of activity that would be best suited for you.

Ayurveda and body types
Vata: This type of person is energetic, hyper metabolic, quick thinking, forgetful, and has low endurance. He has less body mass, is interested in gaining weight, is anxious, constipated, has disturbed sleep and are quick with short bursts of speed.

Pitta: This type of person is fiery in nature, competitive, of medium muscle frame, over eats, gets irritated fast and usually complains about indigestion and skin rashes.

Kapha: This type of person is scholarly, hypo metabolic, slow and steady and a strong decision maker with endurance. He is trust worthy and responds slowly to any external stimuli. He is above the normal weight, has a good physique and is usually liked by all

Body type and selection of sports
Vata type usually excels in sports – he requires quick, short bursts of speed. He is like a race horse always on the move, restless. He quickly gets involved in fitness programs but constantly changes interests make him give up things.

Pitta type excels in individual competition requiring strength, speed and stamina. He is a natural leader, is attracted to individual sports because of his strong ego and is naturally competent in most sports.

Kapha type excels in endurance and mind-body coordination skills. He performs well under pressure and, is naturally calm, stable and easy-going. He is often a late bloomer, both physically and mentally. Because of his hypo-metabolic nature, he will tend to be lazy and will need motivation when exercising.

Listen to your body
It is also important for your mind to know how to listen to your body. We have resigned to the fact that exercise is mindless and boring so we engage our minds in one activity while our bodies do another.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper recently found that when people exercise at 60% of their maximum heart rate for four hours a week or more they produce a significant amount of free radicals which cause aging, diseases, cancer and even death. If you insist on exceeding this limit then you must take large doses of antioxidant supplements to combat the harmful effects of moderate exercise.

In this light, lets us discuss a new approach to how and why we exercise. The human body is unlimited in potential; it is just a matter of knowing how to access it. In this case less will definitely be more.
The secret of Ayurvedic fitness

In Ayurveda, the first requirement for health, fitness and longevity is that the body’s life force must flow effortlessly into every cell of the body. This is accomplished primarily via the breath.

If you were to see something frightful you would most likely take a quick, gasping emergency breath. This triggers a flight response in the nervous system, as the upper lobe of the lungs is primarily innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. Unfortunately this is how most people breathe during exercise, triggering the same bad neurological response.

In contrast, the nerves that would calm, rejuvenate, and regenerate the body are in the lower lobes of the lungs along with a majority of the blood supply.

The best way to consistently breathe into the lower lobes of the lungs is by nasal breathing. The nose filters, moistens and rarifies the air so it penetrates the lower lobes.

Practice Ayurveda work out
Step 1: Go for a walk and for the first ten minutes breathe deeply in and out through nose as you walk slowly. Exercising the lungs help each breath get deeper, longer and slower than the previous one, with emphasis on comfort.

Step 2: Then increase the pace gradually and be sure to maintain the same rhythm of the breath established from the beginning. When you are forced to breathe through your mouth, slow down and go back to the original deep, long and slow rhythm of breath. Once it is re-established try to walk fast again.
Soon the body will accommodate a higher level of natural and more permanent fitness. When this happens physiologically the rib cage is not a cage any more – rather twelve rib-like levers that can massage the heart and lungs up to 28,000 times a day. When this starts happening, a natural calming influence stays with the body and mind all day while dealing with all kinds of extreme stressors which in turn helps us to get the all-positive and productive effect of exercise and the words fitness and health become more meaningful.

Text: R Gowthaman
Image: Flickr Creativecommons Dieseldemon