Mahatma Gandhi believed exercise can do wonders. In his seminal work, Hind Swaraj, he rejected modern amenities that claimed to “save labour” because he feared that it would lead to the atrophy of our limbs, and questioned the logic of saving labour and endangering our health.
This concept is more relevant today than at any other time in our past. What most of us do for ‘work’ is sit at a table for long hours and go home so exhausted from it that all we can think of is sleep. Physical activity has reduced manifold. This decrease in physical exercise is directly proportional to the drastic increase in diseases in our world.
According to Dr. Arpanaa Kumar, Delhi-based independent medical practitioner, “Physical exercise is very important because it is a very effective way to keep our body fit, supple and free from diseases.” In a world where obesity and obesity-related diseases are only increasing, our food habits are deteriorating (either due to availability or time), and physical exercise is the only way to combat these lifestyle hazards.
Regular exercise can keep your heart healthy for longer and play a larger role in keeping old-age related diseases such as alzheimer’s and osteoporosis at bay. Diabetes or other chronic diseases can be kept under control by physical exercises such as walking.
For women, regular exercise can not only help relieve pre menstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps but also reduce their intensity in the future. Studies have also shown that incidence of breast cancer among women who exercise regularly is significantly lower than those who don’t.
Aside from the many physical benefits that regular exercise has, there are several mental and spiritual benefits too. Traditional forms of exercise - such as yoga - can help keep the mind calm and clear, and even aid in improving concentration and building mental strength. Exercise can relieve depression and many other stress-related disorders.
And aside from all that, it gives one a feeling of being in control of one’s body and that can give a boost to the self-esteem of a person like few other things can.
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