In India, We don’t take fitness seriously. Let’s admit it! There has been a spike in Yoga centers, gyms, and zumba classes in every nook and corner of every city, but the truth is that Indians don’t take fitness seriously.
For instance, you will see every branded gym announcing huge discounts and offers to attract customers, but if you look at the real picture you will see that most of the members are seasonal; most of them are either on a yearly or quarterly membership at best, when they are hunting for a groom or a bridge. Once they find the suitable one and are married, the gym is forgotten. I never understand why one has to look like Ghajini just to get married.
The truth is that we don’t exercise in India, working out has not become a culture in our country. Once you step out of India, you will see young and old, the ones uber old as 75 jogging, cycling and working out rigorously even in extreme cold. It’s a usual thing to see faces dazed in sweat on bridges, parks, and beaches. In India, you will hardly see anyone jogging on the road or park unless they are running for an exam or have a bus to catch. The ones who workout are either into sports activities or doing it because the doctor has advised them to do so.
We don’t normally encourage anyone who adopts to a healthy way of living. For example, a person cycling to work will be mocked for being a miser or will drive out of the road honking by the cars and bikes considering him/her to be a nuisance. We are good at making up excuses for not getting up for a workout or a morning jog. If you are a young person joining Yoga, your peer will mock you by telling you to go and meditate in the Himalayas.
If a married man without any illness is working out people ask him, “do you have any ailments?” Seriously? Do you need a reason for adopting a healthy lifestyle? You will definitely come across many such people who would judge you for going to a gym if you have a well built body. The usual comment will be “why do you have to workout? You look perfectly fine.”
The problem is that in India exercise is seen as an unusual activity, a fad or an indulgence of the elite. If you workout people comment. Later, we take shelter under the guise of ‘Body shaming to hide our body shape due to non sedentary lifestyle.’
When you visit a Yoga center or a gym, you will see middle aged men and women working out dealing with lifestyle diseases because they have no choice. In the park, senior citizens don’t exercise at all, instead, are seen participating in breathing or laughter therapy.
I never understand why people over here carry this misconception; whenever I talk about fitness, they always associate it with ‘going to the nearby gym.’
Let me make it clear that Fitness is not about bodybuilding or weight lifting, it’s about working out enough to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle. It doesn’t necessarily have to be going to the gym, it can be any form of workout. It can be getting up in the morning for a jog.
Our ancestors come from a generation which used to do hard work in agricultural fields. When we migrated to cities we became lazy and got sucked into our comfort zones. This laziness got passed on from generation to generation, we still continue the same practice. What most Indians don’t realize is that everyone has to exercise irrespective of what they are doing in life.
Working out on daily basis releases happy hormones while keeping your body in good shape. It helps your other aspects of your life in many ways. There is no culture of physical fitness, and because of this Indians don’t have an active old age, which is now moreover similar to middle age. Post 60 retirement, they crumble themselves within their homes and are expected to play their role.