By Prarthana Mitra
According to a survey conducted by a leading sportswear brand and Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian national cricket team found that a third of the total respondents had not taken part in any form of physical activity over the last year.
The study, carried out by market research agency Kantar IMRB for sportswear brand PUMA showcased the dismal condition of physical activity undertaken in India. The study also assessed the socio-economic, cultural and infrastructural obstacles to playing outdoors regularly and marks an important starting point in getting young India to take an active interest in sports.
Here’s what happened
According to the study, a third of the total respondents had not taken part in any form of physical activity over the last year- at home, outdoors, gymnasiums, fitness or recreation centres.
Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director of PUMA India said in a press release “The study brings out alarming facts about India’s adoption of physical activity.” He added,”It is essential to take corrective steps to address this situation. Playing sports is a simple yet effective solution that can be implemented into everyday life.”
Out of the 57% of the respondents who haven’t played any sport, most of them last played in school or college which dropped drastically as soon as they entered professional fields. While 70% of those between the ages of 18-21 have indulged in sports in the last one year at least once, only 26% of the 36-40 demographic could claim the same.
What is more alarming is while most of the negative responders cited lack of time as their inability to partake in sports, the same spent close to 4-5 cumulative hours on social media, in front of the television, telephone and computer on a typical working day. In fact, the research revealed that the average working hours for those who don’t play were lower than those who do play.
On the brighter side, 81% of those who participate in regular sports, do so because they enjoy playing, besides other obvious reasons like keeping fit and as relief from stress.
After assimilating responses from 18 cities namely Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Cochin, Ghaziabad, Goa, Gurugram, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Patna, Raipur, and Surat, Goa topped the list with 89% of the respondents playing a sport at least once in the last 1 month, followed by Hyderabad and Mumbai. Gurgaon, Raipur and Patna rated low on this index with only 18%, 15% and 12% of the respondents from these cities playing at least once in the last 1 month.
Why you should care
Although sports frenzy is an indispensable part of Indian culture and history, the recent survey, which covered 3924 respondents over a wide demographic of men and women between 18 and 40 years, seemed to reflect otherwise when it comes to active participation.
The study also revealed that 76% percent of those who play, do so in any open space that they find near their homes, with 65% of them playing with neighbours. Although lack of infrastructure or unavailability of people to play with were not strictly barriers to play, it stifles talent among young aspiring sportsmen in the country. The data, however, does not shed much light on the ratio between women’s participation in outdoor physical activities which is certainly a crucial social clue.
Responding to the findings Kohli said the results were “shocking. “Technology and social media is gaining preference over health and fitness in our lives. This needs to change,” he said. “Sports can be seamlessly integrated into our daily life – one can do it anywhere and at any time.”
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