Any physical activity which persuade Aayasa is Vyayama1(exercise) i.e., physiologically increased respiration, feeling of fatigue and sweating is Vyayama, since no specific type or group of physical activities mentioned it can includes the range of physical activities from simple Walking, Running, Climbing up the stairs, Dancing, Cycling, Swimming, Manual work, Aerobics, Sports, Yoga, Gym etc.

Ayurveda Vyayama guidelines emphasise that once has to indulge in exercise daily depending on individual age, season, time of day, in relation to food and body type (Prakruti)2 etc. Everyone should indulge until their half of strength has been utilized which is indicated by generating sweat at Axilla, Forehead, Nose, Palm, Sole, Joint and mild dryness of mouth to stop further for the day or at that time2. If repetitively overdoing or improperly done exercises will leads to multiple systemic grave diseases depending on the nature of exercise indulged, hence learning exercise under practised professional is mandatory.

Benefits of proper and regular exercise induce lightness of body (removes heaviness), increases physical efficacy, optimize Agni (transformation factors / bio fire), reduce fat, proper shape and firm body etc.1

The core benefit is regulating and optimizing the Agni2:

Agni is the sign of life, which shows the importance as it regulates multiple fundamental functions of body. Agni in a person is regulated and optimised will lead to happy, healthy and long life, whereas improper Agni leads to hampered metabolism leading to diseases, if  it stops functioning in an individual that is termed as death.  Agni has many derivatives; Ayu ( longevity) to live long physiology is minatory, Bala (strength) it not is limited to physical but includes body protecting mechanise IMMUNITY too, Swasthya (Health) – include physical, psychological and spiritual well-being, Utsaha (enthusiasm) a natural process of a sound body and mind to involve or do something constructive, Upacaya (Nourishment) result of optimum physiology and co-ordination between organs, Ojas (reflexion all healthy tissue) body protective / defence mechanism / immunity / slowdown wear and tear phenomena.

Agni (Teja) play a major role during new cell formation3 i.e. cell division process, if a mistake or abnormality at this primitive stage is noted to trigger further formation of cancer. As immunity is also related efficacy of Agni, prime function of immunity is protecting body by identifying and destroying unwanted or harmful factors or cells or organisms etc. Reduced efficacy of immunity or immune-compromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and may be susceptible certain diseases or conditions, such as AIDS, Cancer and certain genetic disorders4.

Similarly all of us are aware of several health benefits of regular and regulated exercises,

  • There is irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases (e.g., Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Hypertension, Obesity, Depression and Osteoporosis) and premature death. Regular physical activity appears to confer a health benefit by primary prevention and established cancer5.
  • Neuro-immune system : Positive evidence during moderate and regular physical exercise6.
  • Mental health : Exercise is essential component of lifestyle modification often neglected intervention in mental health;
    • Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. It has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal7.
    • Improves sleep, stress relief, better mood, and better endurance.
  • Natural de-toxic and tuning :
    • Systemic and lymphatic circulation : Improves adequate supply of food and oxygen, bringing back the cellular waste, debris and gases.
    • Pulmonary circulation : Improves functions of all lobes, resulting in proper exchange and evacuation of gasses.
    • Improves Cutaneous circulation :
      • Improves body temperature regulation and blood pressure.
      • Tuning mechanism of interaction between adrenergic control of cutaneous blood vessels in relation to temperature, reflex factors, and physical factors, exchange of heat with environment as well as maintenance of blood pressure, cardiac output and blood flow to other tissues8.
      • Slowly developing changes in the control of the skin circulation that accompany circadian rhythms, changes in blood volume or its distribution, physical training, and acclimatization8.

In relation to cancer :

  • Lower cancer risk by helping control weight, reduce sex hormones or insulin, and strengthen the immune system; and in can boost quality of life during cancer treatment9.
  • Lower oestrogen and insulin levels, both of which may lower the risk of some types of cancer9.
  • Various clinical trials and research papers claims that exercise reduce risk of10:


  1. Bladder cancer : 13-14%
  2. Breast cancer : 12-21%
  3. Colon cancer : 19%
  4. Endometrial cancer : 20%
  5. Oesophageal cancer : 21%
  6. Renal cancer : 12-23%
  7. Stomach cancer : 19%


References :

  1. Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana 3/10
  2. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa  4/38-40
  3. Sushruta Samhita Shareeera 5/3
  5. Darren E.R Warburton, Crystal Whitney Nicol, and Shannon S.D Bredin. Helath benefits of physical activity; the evidence CMAJ, 2006 Mar14;174 (6):801-809.
  6. V Verratti, Neuroimmune Biology of Physical Excercis. JBio Regul Homeost Agent. Jul- Sep 2009:23(3):203-6.
  7. Ashish Sharma, MD, Vishal Madaan MD and Frederick D Pettty MD PhD. Exercise for Mental Health. Prim Care Companion J Clin, Psychiatory 2006 ; 8 (2) : 106
  8. J M Johnason, G L Brengelmann, J R haler, P M Vanhoutte, C B Wenger, Regulation of the Cutaneous Circulation, fed Proc.1986Dec;45(13):2841 – 50

(Author : Dr. Dayananda R D, MD (Ayu),
Cancer Consultant, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Kuvempunagara, Mysore – 570023)