A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. We all wish to do best in our lives and to excel it is important to be physically fit. A physically fit person will always have an edge over others. The everyday struggles of life become harder when a person is unhealthy.
In our busy lives and hectic schedules we forget how important physical activities are. Sedentary lifestyle is on the rise worldwide. The lack of physical activity has detrimental impacts on longevity, quality of life and in turn affects the economy of a country.
In India, youth and children make up the major portion of its huge population. Hence, children and youth are expected to form a major portion of the world’s workforce and drive the country’s economy.
“India’s children and youth will make up a major proportion of the world’s workforce and will drive the country’s economy. The benefits of physical activity have been well established and linked to better health outcomes, academic performance, and overall productivity,” said Tarun Katapally of Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Canada.
Well, there is a growing awareness about fitness and wellness. However, in the rush of daily lives, only a few follow a regular fitness regime such as walking, jogging, exercising or performing yoga.
According to a report on physical activity of children and youth in India brought out by EduSports in partnership with Johnson Shoyama School and Public Health Foundation of India, countries with the most active children and youth overall, include Slovenia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. They rely on very different approaches to get kids to move more. The report assessed 10 key indicators of physical activity among children and youth in India.
“But, what is consistent in all of them is that physical activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms – being active is not just a choice, but a way of life,” said Dr. Mark Tremblay of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.
The report also stated that physical activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms. In Slovenia, 86 per cent of boys and 76 per cent of girls 6 to 18 year-old get 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day, in comparison approximately only 50 per cent of Indian children and youth get the same.
What drives this behavior of children in Slovenia is the physical education system in schools. It is a cultural norm, evaluated on an annual basis that provides appropriate measures to deal with overall inactivity levels. Another example is of Zimbabwe where over 80 per cent of children use active rather than motorized transport to get to and from school whereas in India about 50 per cent of children use active transportation, the report stated.
Also, children in rural India seem to be more active than children who live in urban areas. This is more so as air pollution in Indian cities is high. The dangerous level of pollution affects the ability of children and youth to be physically active and healthy.
“Due to the population size and distribution, and the great diversity of geography, climate and culture, more data are needed to understand active living patterns in India. Nevertheless, current data show that children in rural India seem to be more active than children who live in urban areas,” Katapally said.
“A highly relevant current issue is the air pollution in Indian cities and how it might be affecting the ability of children and youth to be physically active. Going forward, we need to gather data to understand this issue, and more importantly, develop policy interventions that lead to sustainable healthy, active urban communities,” he added.
Physical activity is a global problem and it is more severe in India but it is not too late. The rich culture and history of our country is a proof of how healthy and physically fit people of Indian origin have been. The gurukuls in ancient times taught children how to live a healthy and happy life. Yoga, meditation and other physical activities were part of their curriculum. Present day schools can implement the old tradition of gurukuls. Sports educators, experts and organizations must come together to share ideas and implement programs to combat this issue.
Those who believe that physical activeness is just a personal choice need to know that being active is the most appropriate way to live life and should not be considered a choice.