We eat daily, we sleep daily, so why is it we don’t exercise daily?
Physical exercise is when the body breaks into a sweat and undergoes some exertion. This maintains physical fitness and overall health. We do it for a variety of reasons like building strength, assisting with the cardiovascular system, gaining better athletic skills, weight loss, or the the enjoyment of it. If we do it frequently and regularly, we boost our immune system, and prevent ‘diseases of affluence’ like heart disease, cardiovascualr disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Whether you’re walking in the park or walking a dog, a daily habit is key.
If these were not good enough reasons, what about the release of the pleasure chemicals, endorphins and serotonin.
And the Ancients …
Most historians would say we started as hunter gatherers. We hunted for animals out of necessity, and we gathered because it was more convenient so we had to physically move out of necessity. But once we moved away from this, interesting practices started to appear…
Yoga is a physical and mental discipline associated with spirituality. First practiced in India, there are many types of yoga, the focus of which is breathing, meditation and postures. These streams are considered non-sectarian, when practised with the mind and body.
In the West, yoga is associated with postures, jokingly called ‘pretzel’ positions. While the postures are a vehicle to help the mind concentrate or let go, the correct posture can energise the physical body; both organs and muscles.
Qigong is a Chinese tradition of aligning breath, movement and awareness. Combining Chinese medicine, martial arts and philosophy, qigong is viewed as a practice to enrich the balance within. Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing coordinated with a slow, stylised repetition of fluid movement, and visualisation of guiding Qi (life) through the body. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and meditative practice. It’s good for dancing and theatre too; look at the Shaolin monks.