Sadly, a shocking number of people don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. According to the CDC, a whopping 80% of Americans fail to meet the federal government’s physical activity guidelines, which means only 20% of adults get enough exercise. Sure, of course life can get hectic, and we can easily say “Oh, I’ll start exercising tomorrow,” and then just never hit the gym or put on our running shoes for a jog around the neighborhood. Not working out seems a whole lot easier sometimes than pushing through a grueling exercise class or 5 mile run.
Also, our ever-growing list of responsibilities can make finding time for workouts extremely challenging. Of course, the key to sticking to a workout is actually looking forward to the exercise, though. So, we could argue that maybe so many people suffer from health problems today because they simply haven’t found a workout that they truly enjoy. Many people don’t realize that their body type can dictate what sort of exercise works best for them.
According to Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine, there are three body types, or doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. By understanding what body type you have, you can determine which sort of exercise suits you best, and even how long you should spend working out. To find out your dosha and what it reveals about you, read more here.
So, what exercise is best for your body type?
Vata body types will usually do well in high-intensity sports that require a great deal of athleticism and agility. These types of people need almost constant movement, and likely have short attention spans. They enjoy competition, speed, and adrenaline. They probably have a high-strung personality, and could use sports as a way to release pent up energy. However, vata types need a workout that requires short bursts of energy, otherwise, they will get burnt out. In other words, they have low stamina, but high short-term energy. Vata types need a workout that will challenge them, but won’t cause them exhaustion and stress. These people have likely tried many types of workouts, but give up easily since they grow bored and desire a change of pace.
Recommended exercise: Aerobics (low-impact or dance), badminton, ballet, baseball, bicycling, bowling, canoeing and rowing, cricket, dance, doubles tennis, golf, hiking, horseback riding, martial arts (non-violent Aikido and Tai Chi), ping pong, sailing, stair-stepping (moderate), swimming, walking, weight training, and yoga.
Pitta body types have an independent personality, and prefer activities where they can work solo. However, like Vata types, they also crave speed and adrenaline. Pitta types have passion and determination, and won’t go down without a fight. They play to win, which means a workout for them isn’t complete unless they have left with a trophy or achievement of some sort. They have natural athleticism, and their dominance means that they quickly become the leader in team sports. These types of people do well with individual sports, but must learn to enjoy their workouts and not pay so much attention to winning or losing. Pitta types also must pay attention to their bodies, and rest when necessary to avoid injury or exhaustion.
Recommended exercise: Basketball and other team sports, cycling, diving, golf, hockey, ice skating, kayaking/ rowing, martial arts, mountain biking, non-competitive racquet sports, sailing, skiing (downhill), skiing (recreational cross-country), surfing, touch football, water skiing, wind surfing, and yoga.
Kapha body types have great endurance, and shine in workouts where they can use both their mind and body in tandem. They work well under pressure and have a calm, cool, and collected personality. However, their talents and skills normally don’t come to the surface until a bit later in their lives. While they enjoy playing on a team, kapha types do best in individual exercises just because it gives them that mind-body connection they need to get a great workout. Because of their hypometabolic nature, they require others to motivate them during workouts. They enjoy team sports, but their bodies simply do best when they can get a vigorous workout on their own.
Recommended exercise: Aerobics, basketball, bodybuilding, calisthenics, cross-country running, cross-country skiing, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, handball, in-line skating, javelin, lacrosse, martial arts, parcourse running, racquetball, rock climbing, rowing, sculling, shot put, soccer, stair-stepping, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.