The Run to Fitness

Most Indians are getting lazy, unhealthy, fat and flabby day by day. The intention here is not to body shame but to bring to light the lack of physical fitness and activity in the routine of an average Indian. Obesity is on the rise in the country. This general ignorance towards fitness and health is severely affecting the lifestyle and lifespan of the people.

Fitness has never been a priority for majority of Indians- be it because of the lack of knowledge, resources, motivation, awareness or the social culture in general. However, the sedentary modern lifestyle and the excessive preference to junk food has intensified this problem.

Poor physical fitness ranks right behind smoking as leading risk factors for an early death. Every year we witness a large number of people, even as young as 35 and forty, suffer from chronic heart issues. Almost 9 percent of the population has diabetes, i.e. nearly 119 million people. These statistics bring out a scary reality. The matter in discussion cannot be taken lightly anymore. It calls for immediate action.

We are presently raising a generation of couch potatoes. The concept of ‘going out to play’ is extinct. The primary fault lies in our lifestyle. Children often spend most of the day sitting or lying down while engaged in an activities like watching television, playing video games, or using a mobile phone/computer. Child obesity is a problem affecting millions of children in our country. This exposes them to the risk of having developmental issues.

Living in a big city can have its perks, but the horrors of modern city life can be seen in the crammed up neighborhoods with no playgrounds or touch with nature. Another reason which contributes to this rising problem is the lack of space. We can only see a small percent of the population engaging in the general free forms of exercise like jogging, brisk walking or common sports.

Looking at the positive side, in the recent times there has been a massive change in the attitude of Indians. There has been an increased consciousness regarding fitness and exercise, especially with the youth and the urban population. Gyms and fitness centres are mushrooming across the country and fitness apps and virtual gyms are gaining wide popularity.

In the modern times, physical appearance matters largely. The increased social awareness triggered by the influence of western world, coupled with the body stereotypes set by the social media, has led to the origin of billion dollar fitness industry in India. Overall, the industry is growing rapidly and is also penetrating into the tier-two cities and towns.

India has a large population of overweight women. This primarily is an outcome of lack of motivation to lose the post-pregnancy weight. However, these days women are interested in various different types of activities like zumba, yoga, power yoga, and other fitness activities. Following diets and healthy eating schedules is popular amongst the females too.

Parents these days are also encouraging their children to take part in physical exercises. An increased participation towards sports like football, cricket, tennis, swimming can been seen. Such activities not only help the children to attain better physical health but it also inculcates the seeds maintaining of a healthy and active lifestyle since childhood.

It is common for Indians to go overboard with anything we do. With the desire for losing weight, people often use being fit and being slim interchangeably. One must focus on their HEALTH and not their WEIGHT. Careful observation shows many women trying to fit into the unrealistic body standards set by the society. i.e. having a slim waist, being flat stomached and have a perfect hourglass figure. The boys too, join the gyms with the aim of getting a perfectly ripped body as soon as possible.

To  conclude, what we can currently see are two extremes. On one side are the ones who care about fitness so much that they worry themselves sick, while on the other hand there is a ten times larger population that is still oblivious and continues to stay unhealthy. There is a need to bridge this gap. What is needed is a healthy and a FIT LIFESTYLE – not a TREND of having a slim or ripped body. It is time that we take care of our body and live a healthy, fit and active life.

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