10,000 steps to a Fit India
Gracing the occasion of National Sports Day on August 29, PM Modi will formally introduce a system which ought to have been part of everyone's regular routine. The launch of 'Fit India Movement' doesn't just highlight the indispensable need for physical fitness, it marks a conscious effort to make a shift in the common attitude among Indians to consider engagement in sports as an activity beyond recreation. It is still widely believed that sports is an 'extra-curricular' activity – an activity that is extra and not essential. Bringing a change in this deep-rooted mindset is the challenge the government has undertaken. This explicit intention to internalise the awareness of good physical health among people, who are actually all aware but fail to put it in practice, will especially serve to inspire the vast youth of India. Sedentary lifestyle and confinement to professional obligations take a toll on one's health in very serious ways. Lifestyle disorders are the most common health issues, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, orthopedic issues, etc. are all basically results of lack of requisite minimum exercise, and subsequently, poor diet. It is fast being recognised that prevalence of physical health issues spill over their effect on the mental health of individuals and it surfaces in the form of depression, anxiety disorders and others which, in turn, lead to numerous other non-physical irregularities and disruptions. The value and importance of even an average, reasonably good physical health cannot be emphasised enough. It is in the light of this concern of the common man that Fit India Movement comes in well-equipped with an advisory committee to enable best results. Emphasising that sports is more than an extra-curricular activity, the government is making efforts to bring sports in to the mainstream and is rightly pushing for the change that everyone should play some sport or the other.
Administering a fitness pledge, PM Modi's government reaches out to an apt target to materialise its agenda. The formidable proportion of India's youth can potentially transform this country if they take care and are taken care of in basic ways such that their learning and performance are optimal. Marking the beginning of this initiative, UGC has been proactive to ask institutes of higher education to make necessary arrangements for students, faculty, and staff to view the PM's address on the launch of the movement. As part of the Fitness pledge, the UGC notice holds that everyone should start their day by walking at least 10,000 steps on August 29, 2019, before going about their daily routine. It is also mandated that institutes of higher education make institutional fitness plan and incorporate daily exercise activities for everyone to adopt and practice. UGC is in the process of coming up with a Fit India Movement Portal where the institutes will upload their fitness action plans in addition to uploading and publicising the fitness plan on their notice boards and respective websites. It is in tight preparation that universities and colleges are directed to motivate their staff and students to attempt walking 10,000 steps each on the day as the start of their daily routine, and the first day of this change will be observed with strict, uncompromising discipline. In this endeavour that encourages the entire citizenry of India to come forward and participate in large numbers, the common people will also be informed afresh the benefits of staying fit towards leading a healthy life. A fit and healthy lifestyle and a prominent culture of sports especially among the youth go hand in hand in making this country and all of its society more efficient and better-performing. Ever since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power at the Centre in 2014, there has been a significant emphasis on the cause of sports. There are a number of spots that India has globally earned accolades in but are still, unfortunately, are little known, faded behind the grandeur of popular mainstream sports like cricket. Sports like wrestling, kabaddi, shooting, archery, various track and field sports are popular in smaller and lesser-known places and athletes perform brilliantly in their chosen fields but lying in want of grants and recognition at a higher level for greater popularity, these achievements and achievers do not get the attention and felicitation they deserve. With sports promoted as a common culture, these off-the-mainstream sports will get their due and that numerous people aspiring in these fields and those associated with it will also receive their deserved recognition. The culture of sports has the potential to develop a society holistically, and with healthy individuals, enabling progress, development, and prosperity will be a more eased-out process. Just when athletes like Hima Das and PV Sindhu have embellished India on the world map with their accomplishments, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju's gesture to give Rs 1.82 crore to medallists of Para-badminton World Championships is a very heartening development in the direction of acknowledging the special talents of differently-abled athletes. As per an amendment introduced, para-athletes will be eligible for more cash award and, the medal winners will be given their cash awards the day they return to the country after an international event without waiting for a once-a-year ceremony. PV Sindhu is a very apt example in recent times of the transformational potential of sports: with both her parents as volleyball players, it was natural for her to engage in sports and pursue it passionately. Support at a very fundamental level goes a long way in making achievements happen. With the new Fit India Movement, the country may be steadily taking steps towards better health and overall wellbeing.