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The human body is the chariot and the sensory organs are horses. The mind makes the horses ride the chariot, in other words the sensory organs are the driving force for the mind. They make the mind wander in all direction, in heaven and hell. If the wheels of the chariot become weak or lose, if the reigns do not have the strength to drive it then the journey of life becomes difficult.
The great poet Kalidas has said, sariramadyam khalu dharma sadhanam, this means the first source for duty is a healthy body. If the body is not healthy then the mind is not healthy. If the mind is not healthy then thoughts are also not healthy. If the thoughts are not healthy then how can one fulfill the duties? Therefore it is necessary to keep the body healthy, this is the first duty.
Sushrut Sanhita mentions the following qualities for healthy body – the body where the tridoshas i.e., vata, pitta and kapha are in equilibrium, the digestion process is functioning properly, the process of evacuation, bowel movement and humors is carried properly, the sensory organs, soul and mind are healthy.
samadoshah samagnishca samadhatumalakriyah
prasannatmendrivyamanah svastha ityabhidhiyate
Actually health is most important for all the activities. An unhealthy person cannot enjoy the worldly happiness. A sick person cannot enjoy the taste of delicious food items, wear good clothes, cannot take part in celebrations and other festivals. All these things have no value for a sick person. Therefore it has been aptly said that the first happiness is a healthy body.
Proper exercise is necessary to keep the body healthy and strong. Those who do not do exercise they become lazy and inactive. Exercise makes the hands legs and the whole body strong, it makes the body active and fit. -The digestion process is maintained, the appetite improves, the mind remains happy and the person feels like working. The blood formulation is proper and the person gets a good figure. Regular exercise reduces the weight of the person due to vata dosha. The person who enjoys exercise does not fall sick. His body is strong like a diamond. His heart is always filled with enthusiasm, self-confidence and he is brave hearted.
Saint Charak says that regular exercise makes the body healthy, gives glow to the cheeks, develops the muscles, increases the digestive fire, gets rid of laziness, gives stability, evacuates faeces and other waste and makes the body light.
Therefore exercise is the main basis, which provides rasa to the tree like body and maintains good health. The deeper the roots of the tree, the stronger and long-lived it is. In the same way the person who practices exercises regularly, his life is full of zeal and happiness. Exercise not only makes the body health but it also strengthens the mind and brain. The strong mind and brain glows the personality of the person and becomes capable of being called a good human being. This is not important that a person is at a good position and is related to a special religion or community, what is important is that he is a good human being and he has the feeling of helping others.
There are different ways of doing exercises. Dips, wrestling, running, horse riding, swimming, short put, football, kabbadi etc. games and sports are prevalent in India since the ancient times. Yoga asana and pranayam also makes the body healthy. Brisk walking is also beneficial for the overall health. Exercise should be practiced depending on the condition of the person. All the exercises are not helpful for everybody. Running and jumping exercises are beneficial for the children, the youth can benefit from sports, the old and people related to the mental work should go morning and evening walk. Cricket, hockey, football, volleyball, polo and tennis are some of the popular sports. There are good sources of exercise. Dancing, grinding, drawing water from the well and simple yoga asana are beneficial for the women.
Some people work very hard through out the day for sake of living. Such people enjoy good health, but the people working in sedentary jobs have poor health. Every person should practice exercises depending on his physical requirement and strength. Over exercising can be very harmful. Charak Sanhita mentions the harmful effects and says – over exercise can result in tiredness, weariness, deterioration, bleeding piles, palpitation, cough, fever and vomiting.
shrama klama kshayastushna raktapitta pratamakah
ati vyayamatah kaso jvarachardishva jayate
Some rules should be followed for doing exercises. Exercises should never be done after taking meals. It should be practiced in open air, gardens etc. The mouth should be closed while doing exercises and deep breaths should be taken through nostrils. Massage the body with oil and then take bath for activeness. Eating simple, pious food and having pure thoughts is the basis for healthy life.
The habit of doing exercises should be developed from childhood itself. Those who practice exercises from young age, have sharp brain, healthy and fit body. Sports and exercises should be compulsory for the students in the schools. The schools where this type of provision is not available there it should be implemented. Every person has a desire that he should live up to 100 years with name and fame but this is possible only when his body is healthy. The body can remain healthy only when the person practices exercises regularly. Hence proper exercise is a must for a healthy body and they are supplementary to each other.