Year: 2018 | Month: August | Volume: 8 | Issue: 8 | Pages: 308-319
An Appraisal on Complex Relationship between Vyayama (Physical Activity) and Health: Insights from Ayurveda
Assistant Professor, Kriya Sharir, Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, India
Ayurveda has recognized the importance of Vyayama (physical activity) at least two thousand years ago. Ayurveda mentions the effect of physical activity in maintenance of health while also recognizing its ill-effects when performed inadequately and also excessively. Ayurveda has advised that a moderate level of physical activity be incorporated in daily routine to maintain health. Ayurveda considers multiple factors while prescribing the physical activity such as Prakriti (psychosomatic constitution), age, sex, diet of a person, Ritu (season), type and stage of disease, and other concurrent therapeutic procedures. It is point of interest to note that the recent scientific evidences based on physical activity research, too are consistent with the classical descriptions regarding the effects of Vyayama on body and mind. Studies have reported that contracting skeletal muscles act as ‘endocrine organs’ and release myokines and Irisin which perform multiple anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn, reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Vyayama helps in maintaining the balance between three Dosha (i.e., Vata, Pitta and Kapha), stimulates Agni (~ digestive and metabolic strength), enhances Oja (~ mental and physical capacity to resist diseases) and helps in maintenance of homeostasis in general. The genetic variations with respect to individual responses to exercise have also been reported which may be relevant in the context of Prakriti. The present paper is aimed at discussing and exploring the complex mechanisms of various aspects of Vyayama as conceived in Ayurveda in view of reported scientific evidences.
Key words: Vyayama, Prakriti, Adipokines, Myokines, Mitochondrial biogenesis.