Fit India Movement: promoting wellness among Indians
The Fit India Movement was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29th August 2019, which happens to be the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand, the hockey wizard, and is also celebrated as the National Sports Day. It aims to promote health and wellness among Indians of all ages by including physical activity and sports in everyday life.
Launch of Fit India Movement
While launching the Fit India Movement, the prime minister emphasized the emerging threat of lifestyle diseases. India, as a developing country, is at the crossroads of emerging disease processes. It has a burden of existing infectious diseases, like tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, etc., and is also facing the brunt of non-communicable diseases like coronary artery disease, cancers, and stroke.
The rising incidence of Non-communicable lifestyle disorders- A cause for worry
India is regarded as the diabetic capital of the world. The incidence and prevalence of type-2 diabetes mellitus (insulin-resistant/insulin insensitive/maturity-onset diabetes mellitus) are steadily increasing.
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death among individuals in the productive age group of 25-60 years. Besides, the age at which the first episode of heart attack/myocardial infarction occurs is steadily declining. Also, thrombo-embolic episodes may result in brain stroke and paralysis. It contributes to significant morbidity and mortality as well.
Hypertension is another entity that has been termed the ‘Silent Killer’ along with Diabetes Mellitus. An elevated blood pressure predisposes an individual to develop atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hypercoagulable states, stroke, and other vascular disorders. Thus, they are becoming commoner in younger age groups.
Cancers are the second leading cause of death after coronary artery disease. Mouth and lung cancers in men and breast and cervical cancers in women are among the major contributor to cancer-related morbidity and deaths. Cancers have a genetic component and a contribution from the environmental factors as well.
Since non-communicable diseases have a multifactorial origin, there are two main categories of risk factors: Non-modifiable risk factors (Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Family history, and genetic makeup) and Modifiable Risk Factors (Diet, Lifestyle choices, Exercise, Smoking, Alcoholism, Obesity, Hypercholesterolemia, etc.)
A major thrust of the Fit India Movement is to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes mellitus by increasing the physical activity quotient of Indians. As more and more Indians work in white-collar jobs and the service industries, their lifestyle has become more sedentary, a notable risk factor for developing such diseases. (Read more: Common Lifestyle Disorders In Office Goers)
Fit India Movement promotes physical activity via various initiatives like marathons, jogging, runs to attain healthier body weight, and ward off inactivity and obesity, two major risk factors associated with developing diseases. (Read: Physical Inactivity: How does it affect humans?)
During the movement’s launch, the Prime Minister mentioned that Fit India aims to go beyond sports. It has to do with overall fitness and for people of all ages.
Fitness is not just about being fit but about being happy and healthy while contributing positively to society.
Fitness Protocols and Guidelines
These guidelines are issued jointly by various Ministries, including the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the World Health Organisation. The broad categories include fitness assessment benchmarks, various poses, and age-appropriate yoga protocols.
They are broadly divided into three main categories, according to the age:
- Less than 18 years:
- 18 to 65 years
- Above 65 years
Fit India Freedom Run: It was conducted from 15th August to 2nd October. The main concept behind the run was, “It can be run anywhere, anytime!” The main highlights were: Any route, at any time, at one’s own pace. After manually tracking the kilometers or tracking via the GPS, the participants could submit their data individually/via the organizer and download the certificate accordingly.
India Cycles4Change Challenge: It is a joint initiative of the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, to inspire and support Indian cities to quickly implement cycling-friendly initiatives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens and provide them with expert inputs and guidance to develop a unified vision and promote cycling initiatives.
It is organized at the cities’ level to apply for the challenge by providing proposals such as pop-up cycle lanes and traffic-calmed or non-motorized zones, community-led cycle rental schemes, and extensive cycling networks. In the longer term, the Smart Cities Mission encourages cities to convert temporary interventions into permanent ventures.
FIT India Monthly Plog event: Anyone can start a Plog Group by involving one’s organization, community, family, and friends. It combines two events: Jogging, which is great for personal health, and picking up plastic litter, which is great for the environment. The first run was initially organized on 2nd October 2019, as a tribute to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Subsequent editions have ensued, in which the 2km-plog is conducted on the last Sunday of every month. It ensures that the vision of the Swachh Bharat Mission overlaps with the Fit India Mission.
Fit India Quiz: It is an initiative to create awareness among people across the country regarding fitness, health, indigenous sports, and nutrition. It is an interactive learning process in which participants attend multiple-choice questions based on fitness, healthy lifestyle choices, and Indian sports. It aims to test and enrich participants’ knowledge regarding fitness and award prizes to the winners while motivating them to be fit.
The Fit India Quiz’s end objective is to bring about physical and mental change among citizens to adopt a healthy lifestyle through the MyGov platform.
Fit India Dialogue: To celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of the Fit India Movement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually interacted with sportspersons, fitness influencers, and citizens across India.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the participants (Milind Soman, Rutuja Divekar, and Virat Kohli, amongst others) virtually interacted with the PM and other attendees via a WebCast. PM Modi shared his ideas and anecdotes on his daily routine for keeping himself fit while exchanging ideas with the participants.
One important aspect brought about was ways to keep oneself fit during the lockdown in times of COVID-19, how to continue physical activity from the confines of one’s homes, and adopt healthy dietary plans over food fads. The focus was on inexpensive and doable techniques by everyone irrespective of age and therefore brought about a behavioral change that makes fitness an imperative part of every Indian’s life.
External Sources and references
#FitIndiaMovement #FitIndia #Cycles4ChangeChallenge