Elements of a Strong and Healthy Body
We all know the different parts of the body. All of them have to be kept fit and healthy to enable the body to function properly. However, there are some parts which get more priority due to their relative importance. We have heard a lot about these parts but lets look at them once more. The most important part apart from the brain is no doubt, the spine. The nervous system and the body functions because of the spine. It contains the spinal chord which transmits messages to and from the brain and the rest of the body. The bones of the spine provide support to the head as well as the body. Can we imagine trying to live with a spine?
Another important part most spoken about from a fitness point of view is the core. The core is nothing but the center point of the body at the level of the lower back. Imagine a hypothetical string entering two fingers below the navel and coming out at the back at the same level. That region is the core. The core stabilizes the body and helps it to function correctly. These two are the most spoken about parts; the back and the core. However, we tend to take for granted an important part of our body, which is ignored. These are the legs.
Importance of Legs
The legs are important as they carry the whole body. If the base support is weak, a lot of physical and physiological problems may occur. When we are born and growing up, our legs and their strength are in proportion to the body. Later on, we reduce our activities and start putting on weight. This causes an imbalance. We may not realize but over a period of time, this causes arthritis and other leg related problems. What also happens is that our physical activity reduces. This in turn, adds more weight. More weight means weaker legs and greater pressure on them. This cycle continues and we eventually start getting diseases related to a sedentary life like high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
Taking Care of Legs
We take our legs for granted, but we need to take care of them like any other part of the body. By care, we mean adequate nourishment, the right kind of movements and the right kind of exercise. Strong legs till old age means that we are able to lead a normal life till the very end. If there are injuries, we recover faster and we get less hip and joint problems which could be debilitating in later ages. However, the causes build up right from the time we are young. Let us look at each of the elements which keep the legs in shape:
The legs need to be kept supple and flexible. Your legs, knees, ankles and hips should all be used with all kinds of movements. Sitting cross legged with your feet up is one of the best ways to sit. Sitting is one aspect.
The other aspect is posture. We need to have a posture which is in a straight line. The spine is naturally straight, the head is resting on the spine and the weight of the body falls on the feet equally. Avoid standing with your weight on one feet or on the balls of the feet or on the heels. There should be even distribution.
Similarly, when we walk, try and avoid loose shuffling movements and walk firmly. Avoid walking on your toes. Walk at a steady pace and avoid leaning forward while walking.
The legs need exercise like the rest of the body. The best exercise for the legs is brisk walking. Running, cycling and sports can cause knee problems over a period of time. So once you reach a certain age or a particular lifestyle, avoid exercises which strain the knee. If you are into a lot weight training, do your exercises correctly so that there is no undue pressure on the knees.
The best form of movements and exercises for the legs are Yoga asanas. Hatha Yoga has some great postures which train the legs very well and keep them fit right till the end of the years. All standing asanas are very good for the legs. In addition there are many seated and lying down asanas which are also fantastic.
You can watch some good asanas for the legs on the following youtube links