Pune: Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was recently quoted as saying he could not imagine a life without exercise and when he commissioned a pan-India study along with sportswear brand PUMA, the findings were startling, to say the least.
One-third of the total population surveyed had not done any physical activity even once in the last one year.
And in Pune, where gyms are popping up in every locality, the city fared no better. Pune has been ranked at No 8 among the 19 cities surveyed by the market research agency Kantar IMRB.
The study was done to understand the current state of physical activity and sports adoption in the country and to assess the barriers to playing sport regularly.
Interestingly, Goa topped the list with 89 per cent of the respondents playing a sport at least once in the last 1 month. Following Goa in the second place was Hyderabad while Mumbai was at third. Gurgaon, Raipur and Patna were the bottom three cities.
“It is shocking to see that one-third of the country has not done any kind of physical activity in the last one year. When you are physically fit, you are more energised to take on challenges. I have experienced this personally and therefore strongly believe in leading an active lifestyle,” said a shocked Kohli in response to the findings.
“Technology and social media are gaining preference over health and fitness in our lives. This needs to change. Sports can be seamlessly integrated into our daily routine - one can do it anywhere and at any time. Hence, I urge everyone to come out and play. It’s fun, relieves stress and helps us stay fit,” Kohli said. The findings pertained to respondents in the age bracket of 22-40 years, who are generally thought to be motivated to play for the sheer joy it brings.
While many had effortlessly included exercise in everyday life, others have still been skeptical.
Physical activity included any activity at home or outdoors in gyms and fitness centres such as running, walking, Zumba, yoga and swimming as well as sports such as cricket, football, badminton, tennis, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, hockey, squash and local games such as kabaddi and kho-kho.
“The study brings out alarming facts about India’s adoption of physical activity. It is essential to take corrective steps to address this situation. Playing sports is a simple yet effective solution that can be implemented in everyday life,” said Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director, PUMA India.
“Our endeavour has always been to encourage and promote an active lifestyle in the country. It is Virat Kohli’s personal mission to inspire India to get fitter and we are delighted to partner with him on this journey,” added Ganguly.
The survey covered 3,924 respondents in the age bracket of 18-40 years, both male and female. The respondents were spread across 18 cities - Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Cochin, Ghaziabad, Goa, Gurugram, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Patna, Raipur, and Surat.
3/4th of this group last played a sport only in school or college
While 70% of the respondents between 18-21 years had played a sport at least once in the last 1 year, this figure dropped drastically to just 26% in the age bracket of 36-40 years.
58% of those who don’t play any sport cited ‘lack of time’ as the main reason
However, the research brought out that the same respondents also spent close to 4-5 hours on social media, watching TV, personal phone conversations and usage of various messaging platforms on a typical working day (all put together).
Interestingly, 81% of those who do play, said they did so simply because they ‘enjoyed playing’