Exercises: Guidelines to Follow
Before starting on an exercise regimen, it is always advisable to get a medical check up done by your physician to rule out any absolute contraindication or to know about any precaution which you should take while exercising.
– Exercises should be done an hour before/after a light snack preferably in the morning as it is Kapha time (6 a.m. – 10 a.m.) and the body’s stamina, strength & coordination is maximum. Early morning exercise prepares you for your day with a clear mind, increased circulation and added strength to your digestive fire.
The Middle of the day is not a suitable time for exercising, as middle of the day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) is the time for eating as your ability to digest food is increasing and your body’s capacity for physical activity is in decline. This is the time to eat your main meal of the day. Exercise done at the evening time if at all necessary should be of mild (for Vata body type) to moderate in intensity (for Pitta & Kapha body types) like a walk or a slow intermittent jog or power walk for 15-30 minutes.
– Do not eat immediately before, during or immediately after exercise. Circulation to the muscles increases during exercise, and consuming food at these times will compromise the blood flow that the stomach needs for proper digestion, a state which is not favourable for health.
– Do not drink an excessive amount of liquids while exercising. Instead, small frequent sips of cool (never cold or chilled) water to rehydrate one self and to quench the thirst is recommended.
– Ayurveda advises using oil on the body both before and after exercise. This prepares the muscles for exercise and prevents Vata aggravation.
– Choose fabric for the exercise gear according to weather conditions. A pure cotton or cotton blend is ideal because it allows for comfort and stretchability.
– Exercises should not be done in excess beyond ones needs and capacity.
– Ease into exercise by warming up the body. Rigorous exercises should not be started all of a sudden, we need to gradually ‘build up’ on both intensity, and length of time.
– Avoid excessively vigorous or jerky movements affecting the joints and other vital points (marmas).
– Eat nutritious and unctuous food having all the tastes.
– Most importantly exercise should always be in accordance with age, season and individual needs.
– Modify your exercises based on your personal physical requirements.
– While it is recommended that you include outside activities in your regular workout to insure there is sufficient fresh air, it is advisable to also consider the temperature and weather condition. Fresh air and exposure to nature are balancing. In extreme weather conditions, exercise done in a well ventilated room is the best option.
– While exercising your mental state should be calm and joyful.