From my apartment balcony, I could see some kids playing cricket in the lot. I couldn’t help but reminisce the number of times I played like this with friends, with made-up rules and a couple of bricks as wickets. My reverie was broken as a kid shouts, “Wait for my batting. I will bat like Kohli, and you will chase the ball all over.”
Smiling, I couldn’t help but wonder how much time has passed since I played anything. I struggled to remember the last time I had played any kind of sport.
Turns out, I’m not the only one. In fact, a study commissioned by Virat Kohli & Puma India with Kantar IMRB revealed that 1/3rd of the total respondents had not done any physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, even once in the last one year. 57% haven’t played any sport even once in the last one year!
These results are from a pan-India study on physical activity and sports adoption in India which covered respondents of age group 22-40 years. Based on the respondents’ answers, we can see how drastically sports adoption drops in higher age brackets. Using additional data for 18-21 years age bracket, we can see that from 70% sports adoption rate in 18-21 bracket, it drops to a measly 26% in the 36-40 years age group.
We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time to indulge in sports. This study showed that 58% respondents gave lack of time as the reason for not playing sports. The study further states that the same people spent four to five hours on social media, watching TV, on phone and messaging platforms on an average working day. I can definitely recall entire Saturdays I’ve spent scrolling through my social feeds or binge-watching shows all day long.
The Virat Kohli & PUMA India study also compiled a list of cities to see how they fared. Goa, with an impressive 89%, topped the list for percentage of people who have played a sport at least once in the last one month. Gurugram, Patna and Raipur were on the other end with 18%, 15% and 12%, respectively. Those who play, play it for the joy of playing, in open spaces near their homes, often with their neighbours.
To add to all this, on May 23, the Olympic medalist and Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore launched his fitness challenge campaign to encourage Indians to adopt a fitter lifestyle, tagging Virat Kohli to take it up and spread the word further. Virat in return accepted the challenge immediately, encouraging Indians to #ComeOutAndPlay more often, and tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet.
Hon’ble PM was quick to respond.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 24, 2018
This is a needed push as the Indian youth and overall population is getting increasingly glued to screens. Initiatives such as the Minister’s #HumFitTohIndiaFit campaign along with Virat and PUMA’s #ComeOutAndPlay campaign encourage us to take a step back and think about the life choices we make and give us a new perspective. It’s time we use this perspective, make a change and work towards a fitter and a healthier way of life.