Race to fit capital: South India lags behind, finds survey
Even as runners from southern metros such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad are gearing up for the TCS World 10K scheduled for May 21, a new survey reveals that South India lags behind the North when it comes to fitness. Though numbers of runners and fitness addicts soar across all the three metros, the Fit India Survey by Reebok puts these metros in the bottom three of an eight-city survey.
The survey reveals Hyderabad's FitScore as 6.60, followed by Bangalore with 6.34 and Chennai is on the last spot with a FitScore of 6.20. But fitness experts and addicts express a different opinion. "Maximum runs happen in Bengaluru. The most recent one being the Cult 10K. Then we also have the Pinkathon, TCS 10K, and many other runs - all of these runs see a high level of participation, so Bengaluru currently should be rated as the most fit city," says Shwetambari Shetty, fitness expert and master trainer, Zumba Fitness India. The survey has mapped the fitness habits of over 1500 consumers in the age-group of 25 and 35 years, across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Pune. Consumer fitness habits vary widely when it comes to northern cities and southern cities, a point validated and stressed upon by fitness experts.
Arun Bhattacharya, certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and brand ambassador, Amway, who has clients in most metros, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, says, "If the parameter is only revenue generated by fitness brands and gyms, then Mumbai and Delhi make more money. Be it gym fees, trainer fees, spending on supplements, everything is way more expensive than South India. But it doesn't mean that people in South aren't working out. From my observation there are more people in the south who are taking up fitness seriously, but wisely. They will have many questions to ask before they sign up for a fitness training programme. But it's different in North India, people will pay up a certain amount of money and will want to gain a particular type of body, so money isn't an issue." Another interesting point to note in the survey results is the fact that says Yoga is the preferred choice of workout. While Bangalore shone with 74% respondents participating in Yoga, Chennai recorded a participation of 71% and Hyderabad had the least preference for the fitness form with only 67% respondents practicing Yoga as part of their fitness regime, and Yoga seems even more popular than CrossFit. But considering the number of CrossFit Boxes (gyms) popping up in Bengaluru, it's difficult to arrive at such a conclusion. "Definitely yoga is popular but CrossFit is emerging on a higher scale in Bengaluru compared to Delhi, Pune and Mumbai put together. Bengaluru itself takes care of the numbers (CrossFit athletes) for entire South India with nearly 10 CrossFit Boxes across the city," adds Shwetambari.
In addition to taking up fitness, many young people in South India have also taken up fitness as a career option and others are training for ultra races and competitions. Shaila Bhat, the 31-year-old, zumba instructor's case is one such instance. Shaila switched from a communications to fitness training career and hasn't looked back. "Personally, I have seen many people taking up fitness seriously in these two years since I started training in Zumba. Every week, I conduct a minimum of 8-10 classes of 30-40 members in each class. In the last quarter I have also hosted four to five events where the turnout is between 100-120 enthusiasts. These are corporate events, nevertheless, these validate the point that people are getting more fitness conscious in the South," says Shaila.
On positive note though, the survey discovered that even if people don't sign up for a regular class, they do take the help of YouTube videos to consume fitness specific videos and knowledge. Silvia Tallon, Senior Marketing Director, Reebok India, says, "The Fit India survey has successfully debunked the myth of India being an unfit nation, with most cities passing the test with flying colors.” Most importantly, though South India scored low in the fitness quotient, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai made up for it with records of steady participation in long-distance races by marathoners.