1. Health Tips
Exercise for health and happiness
“Man needs a healthy body for a healthy mind, filled with good thoughts. It must be recognized that sports and music have been designed to confer health and happiness on man. But, physical fitness alone is not enough. Mental health is equally important. Together with the gross physical body everyone has a subtle body. One has to take good care of this subtle body also. For this, spiritual exercises will have to be performed which will help one to realise the Divine.1”
1.What is exercise?
Exercise is any physical pursuit or workout that is more intense and hence more challenging than our usual level of daily activity.2
2. Why exercise?
The purpose is to be physically fit and healthy, mentally fresh and agile, to have fun, and feel happy and in harmony with oneself. This is regardless of age, gender, or physical ability.3,4,5
3. Benefits of exercise are manifold!
- Any workout with sufficient intensity, time, and frequency will improve the body in terms of weight, body fat percentage, cardio endurance, and strength. Exercise burns calories and controls weight. It stimulates brain chemicals and improves cognitive functions and moods. It oxygenates the blood and the tissues, improves the muscle strength, enhances the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and boosts energy levels. The brain releases endorphins which ease anxiety and depression, elevate the mood, and make one feel good.3,4,5,6
- Physical activity with family and friends can make life enjoyable and promote better sleep. Women who exercise regularly will not develop complications during pregnancy and after child birth. 3-5 Children from age 6 and teenagers would benefit from exercise and fitness as much as adults.7 Exercise minimizes complications for bed ridden patients and helps them to recoup faster. Exercise helps patients even in an ICU to leave the hospital sooner, stronger, and happier.8,9 People with disabilities can enjoy good health with exercise suited to their conditions.10
- Exercise helps to prevent and manage a wide range of health problems and diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, many types of cancer, arthritis, and falls. It alleviates pain and swelling in joints.3-5
- Exercise is one of the cornerstones of diabetes management. It can delay the onset of diabetes, control blood glucose, and prevent diabetic complications. In some cases, exercise combined with a diet plan can control diabetes without the need for medication.6
- Research has shown that exercise can slow down aging and reverse the age-related decline on a cellular level.11 One has to do exercise regularly and consistently to realise what wonders it can do.
4. Walking is the simplest of all exercises!
- Walking is a rhythmic, dynamic, aerobic activity of large skeletal muscles. It is simple and safe with minimum risk of injuries. It is free and does not need any skill and suits all ages. One can walk in sync with one’s fitness and physical abilities, maximally fast, without losing breath.12-13
- Brisk walking has gained the status of exercise after a landmark 1989 Cooper Institute study of 13000 men and women for over 8 years in USA.14 Studies show that brisk walking is as effective as running in reducing a person’s risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.4
- Walking has been considered as the best medicine since long ago.11 Leisurely walking can boost mood and psychological being. Research has shown that walking 4000 steps a day can boost cognitive function in older adults.15 Meditative walking in fresh air in the early morning hours is a gentle exercise and a beautiful way to start the day. Walking barefoot on an empty stomach in the morning is regarded as best.
- Walking in the infinity shape of 8 has been an ancient practice in India to keep oneself healthy and free of diseases. The 8 shape can be formed by joining two circles of approximately 6 feet diameter each in north-south direction. This shape can be created in open space for walking. The infinity walk is being used worldwide as a skill building exercise by therapists and teachers in health care and education.16-20
5. Choose a suitable exercise
- A healthy adult can and should do moderate aerobic activity like, brisk walking, running, jogging, skipping, cycling, swimming, dancing, gardening, or any sport. It should be for about 20 to 25 minutes every day. Instead, one may do 10 minutes of vigorous anaerobic activity like weight lifting and body weight exercises using individual’s own weight to provide resistance against gravity. 21 It can be an optimum combination of the two (moderate and vigorous) according to one’s capacity, occupation, and health condition.3-5
- Diabetic patients are normally advised to do moderate exercises for half an hour to one hour daily.6 Children and teenagers should exercise or play a sport that is moderate to vigorous. It should inspire them to challenge themselves physically. It should also make them breathe harder and make their heart beat much faster than normal to make their cardio vascular and skeletal systems strong. It should be for an hour per day, in small blocks or at a stretch.7
- Stretching, though mild, is an exercise in itself. It is best suited for those who cannot allocate time for exercise or do desk work for long. It would increase body flexibility, improve posture, and also reduce stress and body ache. It can be done several times in a day by taking short breaks from one’s routine, even on days when one is not exercising. It would keep one relaxed and agile throughout the day.
Stretching can also be an integral part of daily exercises. One may do 3-5 minutes of dynamic stretches before exercise to prepare the muscles. Dynamic stretches are simple active movements of hands and legs to stretch the muscles. One should not hold the stretch in the end position. One may finish the exercise session with 3-5 minutes of static stretches. Each static stretch has to be held in a comfortable position for nearly half a minute. It is believed to be very beneficial after exercise to prevent injury, to reduce muscle soreness, and to improve one’s range of movement. One may choose to do, under guidance, yoga asanas which include postures, stretching, and breathing techniques to unify the body-mind-spirit.21
- What would be suitable exercise for one may be too much or too little for another. It is better to choose an exercise one would enjoy doing and continue on a regular basis. It is good to start gently and slowly and gradually increase the intensity, duration, and frequency. When the body gets used to the current levels of exercise, one may change the regime to a more challenging or a different one. This will sustain interest and make it enjoyable. One may take the help of a fitness expert to decide. People with health issues should consult their physician or therapist before choosing an exercise.2-6
- Exercise done in fresh air, feeling the mother earth and the bounties of nature, will elevate it to a higher plane. Exercise done with awareness and undivided attention to our body and breath can take us deeper to feel the energy inside. It will then get transformed into a spiritual journey. 1,22-25
6. Transcend barriers to exercise
We may not have the facility or ability to go to a gym. There may be no time or space to do exercise regularly. One may not be inclined or may be lethargic, it does not matter. Any activity is better than none at all. We can reap the benefits of exercise by being active throughout the day. For instance, we can take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of using a vehicle, do household chores by oneself instead of using machines, and so on. Regularity and consistency in doing them with enthusiasm is the key. 3-6,26
7. Safety tips for exercise
- One should remain adequately hydrated before starting any exercise.26,27 A common mistake is to stretch muscles before they are warmed up. One should not overstretch or overdo.21
- One should avoid exercise when one has acute muscle strain, joint sprain, or a fractured bone, until the body is fully healed. It is good not to exercise when sick or when there is a spike in blood sugar or BP.6,21
- It is better to take a cardio stress test before beginning any exercise routine involving vigorous or high intensity aerobic exercises.2-6
Practitioners can utilize the 108CC box or SRHVP to make suitable remedies for strengthening the circulatory and skeletal systems, cleansing, and emergencies as an aid to hassle-free exercise.
References and Links:
- Sathya Sai Baba, The Journey from Physical Fitness to Mental Health, Source: Only God is your true friend, Discourse 6, My dear students, Volume 2 --https://sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-journey-from-physical-fitness-to.html#.XBaQ-S2B3WU
- What is exercise: https://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/exercise/questions-answers/what-is-exercise.htm
- Benefits of exercise: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
- Benefits: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153390.php
- Benefits: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise
- Importance of exercise: https://drmohans.com/exercise-for-diabetes/
- Exercise good for children and teenagers: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5595
- Walk for health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9181668
- Walk for fitness: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3490463/
- Figure 8 walk – an ancient practice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0hALqks-kA
- Infinity walking in 8 shape https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjKQeVFJVvk
- Body weight Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkBxPdqczzo
- Stretching: https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-stretching
- Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Walk, Parallax Press, California, 2015 edition
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, 2001 edition, page 92-111
- Barriers to exercise: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20045099
2. Three workshops in Puttaparthi, India, November 2018
November was filled with the fervour of workshops for AVPs and SVPs as usual, with an additional 2-day refresher seminar for 17 VPs and 2 AVPs from Kerala and Karnataka. These were conducted by two senior teachers10375 & 11422, interspersed with inspiring sessions by Dr Jit Aggarwal and Hem Aggarwal. Dr Aggarwal shared at length how vibrionics was started and reached this stage, how Swami guided him at every step, and how each practitioner had a role to play to take it forward with gratitude at heart for the opportunity given. It was emphasized how important it is to maintain complete patient records and document case histories properly.
AVPs and SVPs qualified after days of intense training. One of the SVP candidates participated from Uruguay through skype and WhatsApp (including exam via email) as she had an infant and a toddler to tend to and could not make a trip to Puttaparthi. Such was her zest to learn, she attended all the sessions every night into early hours of the morning (due to different time zone). All AVPs and SVPs made presentations on how their practice has paved the way for inner transformation. Each SVP promised to play his given role in taking vibrionics forward.
Om Sai Ram