Is Walking the Key to Health and Long Life?

290364-walk

By now most people have heard the saying, “Sitting is the new smoking”. In recent years an inactive lifestyle has been linked to many illnesses, including heart and artery disease and cancer. The good news is that recent research has shown that an hour of moderate physical activity per day is enough to cancel out the negative effects of prolonged inactivity. Researchers in the study also found that positive results were obtained if the hour was broken up into smaller time periods within the day. So a brisk morning walk, a walk before or after lunch and a walk after dinner, all adding up to one hour per day, was equally effective in eliminating the connection between sitting and ill-health. Even a five minute break every hour (again, adding up to an hour a day) saw the same positive results.

According to Ayurveda, walking is a healthy exercise for all body types. In addition to the research sited above, walking has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, increase cardiovascular fitness, stop bone loss, and lower the risk of dementia, colon cancer and diabetes.

For maximum benefits, your walking pace should be adjusted to your body’s individual needs. Ideally one should stay within your body’s range of comfort. Listen to what your body tells you. If you feel any strain or discomfort, ease up and get back into your comfort zone.

Ayurveda identifies ten body types, made up of different combinations of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

If you are a mentally active, Vata type, be careful not to over-extend yourself.  A 15 – 20 minute walk is ideal. If you are trying to fit in 30 minutes of exercise a day, break it into two sessions so as not to aggravate your Vata.

If you are a Pitta type you will probably feel bored unless you can look at beautiful scenery along the way — or unless you feel a bit of a challenge. Pitta types need longer, more vigorous stretches of exercise. Try walking for 30 to 45 minutes at a fast pace, even doing race -walking if it is comfortable. But avoid exercising during the hotter hours of the day.

Kapha types need more fast-paced aerobic walking. Both Kapha and Pitta types can increase aerobic activity by swinging their arms as they walk. But beware of carrying weights, as that can cause ligament damage. If you want to build up your arm muscles, check into weight training.

No matter what your body type, you can gain much more from your walk if you stretch before and after you walk. Yoga exercise or 5 minutes of Surya Namaskara can be beneficial for neuromuscular integration. The more prepared your body is, the more effective your walk will be. It helps to warm up your muscles before making demands on them and the cool-down increases flexibility.

.The Raj Ayurveda Health Center

www.theraj.com

Exercise Without Stress by Following the Principles of Ayurveda

1-knee-length-exercise-pants-with-tops-1 (1).jpg

Ayurveda views exercise as an important part of a healthy daily routine. When done properly, it clears the body of toxins, improves circulation and creates energy.

Ideal exercise, according to Ayurveda, does not produce stress in the body. In fact, the ancient science holds that the true purpose of exercise is to reduce stress and to improve mind-body coordination.

Rather than being focused on how far you can run, how big your muscles are, how many pounds you weight—the common goals and end-products of being fit—Ayurvedic exercise focuses on how much comfort, balance and exhilaration you are experiencing. If you feel exhilarated and rested while working out, then you know you are exercising properly. Rather than being object referral (how many steps have I taken today) Ayurvedic sport and exercise is completely self-referral, focusing only on the inner experience of happiness.

With Ayurvedic exercise you stay within the realm of comfort and ease—never stressing the body. By staying completely within your comfort zone, you will naturally increase your capacity for exercise each day. And because you will not be stressing the body, you will not need to spend any time recovering. Rather than creating a cycle of stress and recovery, Ayurvedic exercise produces unrestricted improvement in performance each day.

Tips for Exercising Without Stress

  1. Use comfort, balance and rest as your criteria for healthy exercise. If your breath becomes labored or uneven, if your heart starts to beat uncomfortably fast, if your foot starts to drag or your arm starts to ache, then you know you are pushing yourself too far and should slow down or stop to rest.
  2. Exercise according to your body type. If you are a Vata type, then calming, milder activities—such as walking or swimming—are best for you. Pitta types can sustain moderately vigorous activity, but need to be careful not to get overheated in the sun. Kapha types need regular, vigorous exercise, which their stronger bones and muscle structure can handle well.
  3. Do not divide the mind. Exercise should reconnect the mind and body. Watching TV or listening to music or audio books while exercising breaks down the mind-body connection. During exercise, the mind should be completely on the body, responding to its signals.

For more information on Ayurveda, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

 

Exercise to Uphold Health and Beauty

The winter-to-spring transition is a delicate time when it comes to physical activity. While exercise is beneficial in balancing the natural increase of Kapha, the Vata that has accumulated in our physiologies over the long, cold winter can make us prone to joint pain, back pain and muscle spasms. Therefore it is good to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Back off if you feel any twinges or pain. As you increase your exercise, think to balance Vata at the same time. Being regular with your morning oil massage and yoga exercises, and favor warm, nourishing foods that can help pacify Vata while you wake up your Kapha. A visit to an Ayurvedic expert is the ideal way to determine how much Vata has accumulated over the winter and what procedures are best to restore a healthy balance.

a_lifestyle_that_includes_daily_exercise_has_many_healthy_benefits.jpg

That said, let’s look at the benefits of exercise. Exercise can help us look and feel better on almost every level.

  1. Improves digestion and prevents constipation: According to Ayurveda, poor digestion leads to an accumulation of ama, which is a contributing factor to most diseases and disorders. A study published by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia showed that exercise helps strengthen the walls of the abdomen and the intestinal muscles, allowing for the more efficient breakdown food by effectively moving it through your digestive tract. Even intermittent walking throughout the day can improve the functioning of your digestive tract.
  2. Helps beat anxiety, stress and depression: When we workout, our brain releases powerful, relaxing chemicals like seretonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones help relieve stress and anxiety. For this reason, exercise is often recommended to those with depression.
  3. Helps reverse aging. Reducing stress also means reducing the production of the stress-related hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol has been shown to interfere with the production of collagen, the protein that helps keep our skin supple and elastic. Given that exercise boosts the production of collagen, it makes sense that walking, biking and other forms of physical activity can delay the onset of wrinkles and other signs of ageing.

Exercise also helps reverse the ageing process at the cellular level. According to a study conducted published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise helped reverse cell damage due to oxidative stress

  1. Helps improve sleep: A study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Reviews connected exercise with increased sleep hours. When we sleep our body produces a growth hormone that helps repair and rebuild body tissues.
  2. Gives us glowing skin. When you workout there is increased blood circulation in and around your face, giving your skin a healthy glow.
  3. Promotes healthy hair: Exercise helps increase blood flow to the scalp, keeping hair and its follicles healthy. It also helps circulate oxygenated blood to our hair, which makes it stronger.

If the end of winter brings with it poor sleep, increased joint and muscle pain, constipation, and other symptoms of Vata imbalance, you might want to consider Panchakarma or day spa treatments to help removed deep-seated Vata from the tissues. For more information on available treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com