Energy through exercise - 5 tips for the winter


Dr. Wolfgang Schachinger

Energy through exercise - 5 tips for the winter

I"He who rests, rusts" is a well-known saying. Many people stop their regular exercise programme, which is a matter of course in summer, during the cold season. There are all sorts of excuses. "Bad weather, cold, rain, snow and darkness" are the most popular.

To maintain a high level of energy and mental and physical balance, regular exercise is also very important in winter. However, with some modifications compared to the warm season.

Exercise strengthens Agni

Cold increases Vata and Kapha. This makes us more susceptible to disorders associated with Vata and Kapha. These are anxiety, restlessness, mental and physical instability due to increased Vata, tendency to infections, phlegm, tiredness and listlessness due to increased Kapha. To avoid these complaints, it is crucial to stand up to the cold by strengthening the inner fire Agni.

In addition to a warming diet, exercise is the most important tool for improving Agni. Any kind of movement generates physical warmth. This not only helps us to optimally utilise food, it also helps to keep Vata and Kapha in balance. This gives us inner strength, both mentally and physically.

Tiredness and exerciseart of inpatient cures.

"I'm too tired to do any sport after work." A statement we often hear. This tiredness leads to a downward spiral. If we stop exercising in our free time, we miss out on an important part of regeneration and energy production.

Regeneration needs rest and relaxation just as much as exercise and stimulation. We recently wrote about the value of relaxation for energising. We need sufficient time for sleep and (transcendental) meditation to fulfil our body's need for rest. Equally important are daily exercise sessions to stimulate Agni and thereby increase physical and mental energy and initiate regeneration processes.

It is an illusion to believe that chronic fatigue can only be overcome by "resting". Without stimulation through exercise, energy levels cannot be raised.

What is different in winter?

Due to the increase in Vata in the body and environment, we need to take a few points into account when practising sport and exercise. Vata makes us sensitive to cold and overexertion. To ensure that physical training also promotes health in winter, we need to protect ourselves from cold and overexertion.

Take note of these 5 points:

1. regularity:


Do your exercise sessions 5 days a week. Each session should last at least 30 minutes. Deliberately do a limited exercise programme on 2 days a week.

2. nasal breathing

When exercising outdoors, nasal breathing is doubly important in the cold season (breathing: nose in and nose out). Nasal breathing warms and moisturises the inhaled air. This is important to protect the sensitive mucous membranes of the respiratory tract from cold and dehydration. If necessary, inhale briefly with water vapour after exercise if it is particularly cold!

3. moderation

When we exert ourselves, we produce stress hormones that weaken the immune system and digestive system. In combination with the cold, this can easily lead to increased susceptibility to infections or other Vata disorders. Therefore, favour a slower pace in everything you do in winter and replace some intensive training sessions with a series of yoga asanas.

4. different forms of movement

Vata has a tendency to stiffen. If we only ever perform one form of movement, we do not train all the muscles of the body. Therefore, try to use different forms of exercise: Walks, Nordic walking, winter sports such as skiing and cross-country skiing, ice skating, strength exercises, yoga and other types of exercise indoors. This will prevent one-sided strain that leads to physical asymmetries and stiffness or hard tension in overworked muscles.

5. exercise in sunlight

The days are particularly short in winter. Working people have to carry out their exercise sessions on weekdays at times of the day when it is always dark in winter. Use the days off work and weekends to exercise outdoors in daylight. Not only the Vedic texts, but also modern research on circadian rhythms, confirm the importance of sun exposure.
In contrast to the Pitta season (summer), when we should avoid sporting activities at midday, in winter it is necessary to utilise the short solar window at midday for outdoor activities.

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