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Home > Physical Activity and Nature Cure > Exercise
Methods and Precautions..
Eugene Sandow, a world famous physical educationist, has very aptly said, "Life is movement, stagnation is death." For the normal condition of life physical exercise is essential. Lack of natural exercise is one of the chief causes of weakness and ill-health.

In recent years, even in sickness the need for exercise has been recognised. Physical and occupational therapy are now standard procedures in medicine to restore the use of muscles and nerves that have been injured by disease or by accident. Patients with organic ailments are now advised to stay in bed for the minimum period considered necessary.

It is essential to differentiate between exercise and activity, for correct living. While both are important, as they are involved in vital physical movement, they vary in degree and benefits. Both employ the body in voluntary movement. Activity uses the body to a limited degree and generally to achieve a specific purpose. Exercise employs the body over the widest possible range of movement for the particular purpose of maintaining or acquiring muscle tone and control with maximum joint flexibility. Once the routine has been established activity requires less physical effort and often less conscious effort. Exercise demands considerable physical effort and is more beneficial as mental concentration is simultaneously employed.

Systematic physical exercise has many benefits. Some important benefits are mentioned below:

  • Regular and proper exercise can contributes to health and fitness. The basic metabolic rate and habitual body temperature will slowly rise during several weeks of physical exercise, if the programme is not too hard. The healthy person usually has abundant body heat and a warm radiant glow.

  • Regular progressive physical exercise can bring about the balance of autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system. The tone of the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that control sensation and motion, is strengthened. This accounts for stronger pulse waves, higher metabolism and better circulation.

  • Exercise can prevent or reduce gravitational ptosis or sag, as it is commonly called. Ptosis results from uneven flow of blood in the feet, legs and lower abdomen.

  • Improved capillary action in the working of muscular and brain tissue results from exercise carried to the point of real endurance. This permits greater blood flow and gives the muscles, including the heart, more resistance to fatigue. Massage, heat and moderate exercise are relatively ineffective in producing additional capillary action as compared with vigorous exercise.

  • The full use of the lungs in vigorous exercise can reduce or prevent lung congestion due to lymph accumulation.

  • Gas and intra-intestinal accumulations can be reduced by exercise that acts to knead and squeeze or vibrate the intra-intestinal mass.

  • Better respiratory reserve is developed by persistent exercise. This ensures better breath holding, especially after a standard exercise. With greater respiratory reserves, exercise becomes easier.

  • Improvement in tone and function of veins can be accomplished by repetitiously squeezing and draining the blood out of them and then allowing them to fill.

  • Sweating in exercise aids kidneys by helping to eliminate the waste matter from the body.

  • Persistent exercise leads to improvement in the quality of blood. Studies have shown improved haemoglobin levels, relatively greater alkalinity, improved total protein content and a greater red cell count.

  • Systemic exercise promotes physical strength and mental vigour and strengthens will power and self-control leading to harmonious development of the whole system.
Significance of yoga.. Ashtanga Marg Exercise
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