Birth of structured exercise pattern
With the advent of the technological era, the effort and physical activity reduced making way for life style disorders like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Further this necessitated the need for a exercise regime to be incorporated in the daily routine for energy expenditure giving birth to the structured science of exercise.
Ayurveda the traditional system of medicine explained the concepts and significance of exercise in human health and disease, essentially from a medical perspective. The right measure of exercise, therapeutic benefits, along with the variations in the extent of exercise in relation to the seasons of the year and time of the day.
Exercise intensity corresponding to seasonal variations : Optimal physical exercise is highly recommended during Hemant and Shishir rutu (winter and spring) generally mid-November to mid-March as this is the period of optimum strength in human beings. This is the most favourable season for performing exercise to the optimum strength for maintaining homeostatic equilibrium and preventing the accumulation of Kapha dosha (responsible for strength and stability). Sports such as wrestling followed by a full body massage with sesame oil works best during winters. Morning and evening walks during spring are a pleasure.
During the summer and rainy seasons (Greeshma and Varsha rutu), generally mid May to mid September individuals experience reduced strength; hence exercise should be performed in moderation. Also during the rainy season there is predominance of the Vata dosha (responsible for movement, it is the initiating and controlling factor). Excessive exercise causes the vitiation of this dosha; hence the amount and duration of exercise should be reduced. Also swimming should be avoided in river water during rainy season.
The strength of individuals is intermediate during the Sharad rutu (mid September – mid November) and Vasant rutu (mid March – mid May) and one can perform exercise half the individual strength.
Time of the day: Morning is the best time to exercise as the mind and body are stress free, surroundings are pleasant and considering the ease of exercise after emptying bowels. Exercise if not possible in the morning, should be performed in the evening after the complete digestion of the previously consumed food. Avoid exercise in the afternoon and night.