“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”                —Plato

The age old saying that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body is extremely crucial for us today. The rat race to be successful and hectic routine of people have degraded their fitness. From the school time, a person is taught about the significance of physical fitness. If our body is not fit and the mind is fragile then our academic performance gets affected. Although, it is necessary to consume a healthy diet but it is equally vital to release sweat through our body via physical workout. Today, people are able to take time out for playing virtual games on their smartphones but when it comes to burning the bulky food consumed, they give many excuses   for not being able to indulge in physical exercise. This tendency of staying away from basic fitness  can lead us to disastrous consequences. Nowadays, youngsters are suffering from cardiovascular diseases which itself is an indication that the care of body has been compromised by them. Those who think that they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. It is exercise alone that supports the spirit and keeps the mind in vigour. If you had a rough day at the office or your college, take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is relief from stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of a chemical called Norepinephrine that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. Working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Exercise releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. In this mechanical world where people are running after material pleasures and inviting stress, a short morning walk can do wonders in curtailing the level of stress in them.

One need not aim at ‘Nirvana’ (a state of perfect peace and happiness) rather be ready to devote some time to brisk walk and losing some sweat especially in the morning. The degree of joy in an individual’s life multiplies as he undertakes any form of workout. The positive vibes yield to better handling of home and office responsibilities. This brings satisfaction in life and keeps the chronic diseases at  bay. The propagation of ‘yoga’ all across the globe has actually revolutionised the lives of many people. It is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of the body and consciousness. Recognising that yoga provides a holistic approach to  health and well-being, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the ‘International Day of Yoga’, on December 11, 2014. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising yoga.  The gift of India to the world has been conceived well and practised widely. Every year, all the countries participate in  yoga so that it reaches every unaware individual. It becomes all the more important because the impact of yoga is not only on our physique but also on our brain. The tuning of brain’s frequency along with the toning of our body makes it the ultimate choice of workout. Without any monetary expense, one receives the security of health against various diseases. This is not the only benefit. The addition of bliss to life while one perpetually does yoga makes a person feel the beauty of  the world. Yoga enhances our performance in every aspect of life. There are various personality development classes claiming to transform the personality of an individual. But a practitioner of yoga would never need it. The realisation of the self fulfils the gentlemanly requirements of a person.

On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve  self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness i.e. self-worth. The induction of negative thoughts is catered by a feeble body. Whenever one meets failure and obstacles, he is likely to take aid of unhealthy means to diminish the pain. Consuming alcohol and drugs  to combat  depression are all fatal elements which temporarily provide comfort. After some time,   they start taking a toll by gradually pushing the addict towards death. These hazards are escapable with the adoption of regular physical exercise. The brain releases dopamine, the ‘reward chemical’ in response to any form of pleasure be it exercise, drugs, alcohol or food. Unfortunately, some people become addicted to dopamine and depend on the substances that produce it like drugs or alcohol. On the bright side, exercise can help in recovery from addiction. Short exercise sessions can also effectively distract drug or alcohol addicts making them de-prioritise cravings. The chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders. Hopping on the track or treadmill for some moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety. People of any profession are required to be fit by body in order to  deliver their best at their respective workplace. Exercise can help reboot the body clock, helping people hit the hay at the right time.

The children must not be reluctant to going outside and playing outdoor games as the development of brain is largely dependent on the level of physical activity they undertake in their formative years. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning. For this reason, research has linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness. The Government of India has approved the revamped ‘Khelo India’ programme. This marks a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports, as the programme aims at mainstreaming sports as a tool for individual, community, economic and national development. The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.  It is an unprecedented pan Indian Sports scholarship scheme which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across selected sports disciplines. Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5 lakhs for 8 consecutive years. This is the first time ever that a long- term athlete development pathway would be made available to gifted and talented youngsters to excel in competitive sports and  create a pool of highly competitive athletes who can compete to win at the world stage.

When it comes to students of higher age group specially those who are preparing for competitive exams, it is essential to include a session of workout in their daily schedule. Any kind of physical activity be it running, yoga, aerobics, gymming or any other sports of personal interest, is vital. A student understands its imperativeness with time as study sessions cannot be effective and fruitful without basic fitness of the body. If a student is feeling uninspired then the solution might be just a short walk or a jog away. Research shows that students who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. Presently, India’s total expenditure on health is below 4% of the GDP while the government expenditure is below 1.3% of GDP. The new National Health Policy (NHP) promises to increase this to 2.5% by 2025. Recently, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi tweeting his own fitness regime ‘#Hum Fit Toh India Fit’ said that he does yoga, breathing exercises apart from walking on the track inspired by the Panchtatvas. PM Mr. Modi also appealed to every Indian to devote some part of the day towards fitness. The trend setters of fitness in our country are putting their secrets of fitness in the public domain. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25. More than 65% are below the age of 35. It is expected that in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years compared to 37 in China and 48 in Japan. Therefore, the progress of our nation is tied to its youth’s apron strings.  A healthy society leads to a productive country. Mahatma Gandhi in this regard had rightly said, “It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

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