Riyaazat (exercise) is an activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and ensures overall health and wellbeing of an individual. It is a voluntary movement performed with the purpose of evacuation of waste materials (Tanqiya-e- mawaad) from the body of sick individual. Riyazat (exercise) plays an important role not only in maintaining good health but also in preventing certain diseases as well.
Apart from that it is also performed for various reasons, including strengthening of body muscles and the cardiovascular system, weight loss or weight maintenance, or for sheer enjoyment. Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts the immune system and helps prevent the diseases specially life style diseases such as heart disease, cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity and hypertension etc.
Riyaazat (exercise) also helps to prevent depression, helps to promote or maintain positive self-esteem. It improves mental health. It can augment an individual’s sex appeal or body image, now a day which has been found to be linked with higher levels of self-esteem in society.
These days childhood obesity is a growing concern globally, in this case physical exercise may help decrease some of the effects of childhood and even adult obesity. Health care providers often call exercise the “miracle”.
Exercise (Riyaazat) has great importance in the treatment of certain diseases as well as in maintenance of healthy condition of an individual. It prevents occurrence of certain diseases also. Horse riding (a kind of physical activity) is found to be very useful for those individuals who are physically weak or those who have just recovered from an illness. Similarly boating (a type of physical exercise) also has been described as a means of cure for the patients suffering from leprosy and ascites in Unani classical text. It is also found to be beneficial for stomach as it strengthens digestion and increases appetite of an individual.
The ancient Unani physicians have laid down certain rules and regulations regarding light, moderate and hard exercises. They have also indicated the timings and conditions for various physical exercises.
The methods of exercises of various organs of the body have also been described i.e. oration with raised voice is recommended as chest exercise, whereas listening to melodious songs and observation of beautiful sceneries and pics are found to be very good for hearing power and eye-sight respectively as these modes of exercises are not only being described in ancient Unani texts but also now proven with scientific studies.
The main objectives of performing Riyaazat (exercise) are:
- It improves metabolism (Istehala) resulting in proper functioning of the body
- It removes waste products (Mawaad-e- faasida) from the body
- It tones up individual organs of the body
- It maintains and improves flexibility, balance and co-ordination of the musculoskeletal system, Thus strengthens the body as a whole
- It relieves conditions like insomnia, depression and anxiety