Friday, December 16, 2011

Exercise, sport, and fitness and the 50% rule

Your biggest Wealth, is your Health.  Trading the markets can be a big stress on your health, here is an informative article on keeping fit the natural way.

Exercise, sport, and fitness – according to individual type, and stress-free

Sporting activity has many health-promoting effects: It keeps the body fit and mobile, it builds up the muscles, and strengthens the internal organs. Nevertheless, as with many good things in life, there is a right amount of exercise that should be taken; and if this level is exceeded, then the disadvantages start to outweigh the advantages.

Here we are not talking just about over-enthusiastic joggers who risk pulling a muscle or straining a ligament. The long-term effect of over-exercising is also bad for health: the body as a whole does not benefit, it loses its inner balance and its resources get exhausted. The Ayurvedic tips presented here will give you an idea of what is meant by ‘healthy exercise’. Ayurveda means literally ‘the science of long life’ and is considered to be the oldest and most comprehensive system of health in the world. And although Ayurveda came into existence about 5000 years ago, at the time of the great Vedic civilisation, the knowledge of Ayurveda is timeless, eternal.

50% of one’s capacity = maximum benefit
Too much exercise done in the wrong manner can be just as unhealthy as too little. Yet how do you discover what is the right amount for you? Most medical experts recommend exercising up to 75-80% of one’s maximum heart rate. But Ayurveda gives a simple rule of thumb: when one begins to sweat profusely, or when breathing begins to be heavy or laboured (so that one can no longer breathe through the nose but must instead breathe through the mouth) - at that point one should stop or slow down. This kind of fitness programme, in which one exercises only to a maximum of 50% of one’s own capacity, is balanced and ideal for health.
If this appears to differ from current medical opinion, it is because Ayurveda always takes a holistic view: i.e. the purpose of exercise is not just to build up the muscles and strengthen the circulation. Exercise and sport should above all contribute to maintaining the inner balance of the physiology as a whole, strengthening all organs and making the immune system more resistant to disease. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, exercise enhances well-being, and should reduce rather than increase stress. Over time, this makes for more enjoyment, and in the long term is more healthy than pushing one’s body to the limit so as to attain a temporary peak experience. The classical Ayurvedic textbook Charak Samhita says: “He who exercises to excess, his strength will suddenly vanish, like that of a lion trying to drag an elephant.” After exercise one should feel better and more energetic than before. According to Ayurveda exhaustion is a sign of “unhealthy” exercise.

Another important point is that exercise should be done regularly. It is better to keep yourself fit with a few minutes or half an hour of exercise up to 50% of one’s capacity, rather than torturing one’s body for two hours twice a week. The body benefits more from regular exercise, and, according to the classical Ayurvedic texts, over time becomes strong, energetic, flexible, and possessed of good stamina. The heart and other inner organs are strengthened, the digestive power is stimulated, and the mind becomes balanced and calm.

Individual differences
Ayurveda adds another insight to the modern approach, by giving individual guidelines based on age and “constitutional type”.
1. Age: People under 25 should exercise regularly and sufficiently. Children are generally very active anyway and naturally enjoy exercise and sport. However, they should not on any account be forced into things. As a rule, children themselves know how much and what type of exercise does them good. From 25 to 40 the whole thing can be taken in a somewhat more moderate fashion, depending on one’s constitutional type (disposition), which we discuss in more detail in Point 2. People over 40 should be even more moderate – exercise should be increasingly light, although still regular.(15 to 30 minutes per day).
2. Constitution: thin people with delicate limbs and quick movements (described in Ayurveda as Vata types) should engage in slow and mild types of exercise, ideally those which keep the body in continuous movement for 15-20 minutes. This would include walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling. Such people should take extra care not to over-exercise, and in winter should perhaps favour indoor sports, since they are not so well able to handle cold weather.

People with average to strong build (Pitta), who have a good temperature regulation, can do more demanding kinds of exercise, for which 15-20 minutes of practice daily is enough. Suitable kinds of exercise include: water sports such as swimming and surfing; any sports that take place in the open air (skiing, climbing, bicycling, light jogging, and all team games and ball games).

People who are by nature somewhat more corpulent (Kapha) will profit most from regular exercise, although they are not usually very motivated. They can do exercise like jogging, long-distance running, and rowing, as they have the necessary stamina for this. 15-30 minutes a day are sufficient. For all types of people, some warm-up phase is recommended.

When to exercise
It frequently goes unnoticed that in relation to physiological biorhythms there are particular times that are better suited (or less well suited) to one’s personal exercise regime.
1. Time of day: mornings between 6 and 10 o’clock in the morning is the best time for doing something for one’s fitness. The evening is best suited for relaxation, rest, and recreation.

2. Time of year: In summer one’s daily work-out should not take place right in the midday heat. And in general one should take more exercise in autumn, winter and spring than in summer.

When not to exercise
  • when one is feeling exhausted
  • when one is ill
  • when one is hungry or thirsty
  • directly before or after meals. After a main meal wait at least 2-3 hours. But there is no objection to taking a walk after the meal, as an aid to digestion.
  • Women should exercise only lightly or not at all during menstruation, pregnancy, and for some time after childbirth. Certain yoga postures and antenatal or postnatal exercises are excepted from this, of course.

Food and drink

Food should be natural, freshly prepared, rich in variety, nutritious and tasty. It is less a matter of calories, vitamins and carbohydrates, than of recognising one’s own individual needs. The main meal should be at midday; breakfast and dinner should if possible be somewhat lighter. Taking regular meals is good for the body and enables it to make best use of the food. Special Ayurvedic drinks for physically demanding activities include: the vitality drink Almond Energy and teas such as Fitness-Exklusiv, Men’s Tea und First Lady.

Food supplements (The secret of ‘Rasayanas’)
Ayurveda describes a large range of herbal and mineral compounds. Not only do these contain high concentrations of nutrients, but the specific combinations involved in these food supplements produce additional and unique effects. The different ingredients complement and strengthen each other and can thus be absorbed by the body in an optimum manner. The most important Ayurvedic food supplement is Maharishi Amrit Kalash. It has been shown to reduce cell-damaging substances, the so-called “free radicals” (highly reactive fragments of oxygen molecules, which are produced in greater numbers when the physiology is under strain), and also supports the immune system in a holistic way. The food supplement Sport Rasayana is perfectly suited to sportsmen and sportswomen and any people who do a lot of exercise. This product comprises the Indian Amla fruit (amalaki). The Ayurvedic texts ascribe to it an anabolic (muscle-building) effect, as well as other nourishing and balancing qualities.

Yoga Asanas
Yoga Asanas are a harmonised and integrated sequence of Yoga postures which not only increase mobility, but above all improve mind-body co-ordination. However, they should only be learned from an experienced teacher. See addresses.
A sufficient period of recuperation is just as important as the actual activity of exercise. It allows the body to revive and to gather new strength. A gentle massage relaxes the joints and limbs that have been under pressure. It loosens the muscles and helps reduce lactic acid (lactate) which leads to stiffness. The massage will be even more pleasant if done with Ayurvedic Sport Massage Oil. In the rest period you can enjoy beneficial Ayurvedic aroma oils. These can also create a pleasant atmosphere in the fitness studio itself.
Regular mental relaxation is important for lasting success and inner balance. Transcendental Meditation is an ancient Vedic technique of consciousness, which is simple both to learn and to practise. Unlike other relaxation techniques, the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation has been validated by rigorous scientific research.

And remember:
It is important to enjoy your exercise. These tips should be considered as hints, not rules. For professional sportsmen, all these Ayurvedic guidelines are applicable only up to a point, as they are obliged to train more in order to reach their peak performance. They are recommended to limit the damage caused by “free radicals” by taking the corresponding food supplements. What more they can do is to adhere strictly to the daily recuperation periods, and to go twice a year for a Panchakarma treatment (Ayurvedic purification therapy). Professional sportsmen report that these measures not only improve their health but enhance their performance.
View and order Ayurvedic products for fitness and sport in the shop.

1. Pay attention to the 50% rule.
2. Regularity is the key to success.
3. Train between 6 and 10 in the morning.
4. Follow a healthy diet, and support mind and body with Ayurvedic food supplements..
5. It is important to have a relaxation and recuperation phase after exercise
6. Relax regularly with Transcendental Meditation.
7. Practise Yoga asanas.

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