Fitness as a Lifestyle

I went to the mall today to meet Rakhi who is a fitness instructor at the gym which is located inside the mall. I have been very curious about the fitness boom in India so wanted to talk to her about it. I was very impressed with the size, professional upkeep and facilities in the gym. Rakhi mentioned that this was just a mid-size gym, which looked pretty big to me, and that there was a bigger one in another locality. 

Fitness, as Rakhi notes, is not yet a lifestyle in India. People usually exercise and go to the gyms for short term goals, such as when getting married or when traveling to beaches. It is more about appearance and looking good as opposed to being healthy and fit. Gyms in India can be quite expensive so they can only be afforded by a relatively smaller segment of the population. Free spaces such as public parks and paths for walking and jogging are still very few. Significant air pollution further adds to the problem of outdoor exercising. This is a hindrance for all, but especially for women, who need safe and easily accessible places for everyday exercises. 

The Fitness Boom in India

Health consciousness and the need to be fit is on a rise in India. Fitness centers and gyms have mushroomed all over India, in small towns and big cities. Yoga, Aerobics, and Zumba are becoming popular among the middle and upper class public. Advertising for diet pills, supplements for building muscles, and other similar products have also increased. On Indian television, infomercials for weight-loss and weight-gain supplements have particularly increased. The weight-gain supplement advertisements exploit the insecurities of Indian men who are not tall and big and promise them increase in height and weight, which is then linked to their success in life, particularly with women. Weight-loss ads on the other hand exploit the insecurities of women, particularly housewives.