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.
That said, let’s look at the benefits of exercise. Exercise can help us look and feel better on almost every level.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Gives us glowing skin. When you workout there is increased blood circulation in and around your face, giving your skin a healthy glow.
- 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: