The latest technological development and nature of jobs in India have forced a sedentary lifestyle on the people. And this has had a bearing on just about everyone. According to a research, in 2000, India topped in the world with highest number of diabetes patients (31.7 million) which is expected to be a staggering 79.4 million by 2030. Studies suggest that apart from anxiety and depression, excessive sitting and lack of physical activity lead to overweight and obesity leading to Type 2 diabetes and early death.
It has been suggested by men in authority that running makes for a welcome life-saviour. It has multiple health benefits besides preventing possible instances of diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. The biggest positive impact is that it helps one to remain stress-free and reduces the agonising pangs stemming from overbearing work schedule and the pace of urban lifestyle.
People are increasingly becoming aware of the perils of their inactive life thereby making them turn fitness-conscious. Heavy workout, strength training and other such activities, which were more patronised by the society’s elitist sections, is now fast catching up with people of every ilk, including men, women, youth and senior citizens irrespective of their economic standing. Running is gradually emerging as one of the most popular fitness activities for all age groups.A lot of women, especially housewives, have also picked up the exciting option in order to stay fit and active. There has been a dramatic, but welcome, change at how people are seeing the merits of running in the past decade. Facilitating the culture and keeping alive their ‘feel and stay fit’ hopes are race events (presently estimated at 130) that are organised by celebrated enthusiasts.
According to www.runningusa.org, the number of finishers in 2005 was 70,000. In 2011, it was 170,000! Right now the picture is getting clearer that running is the new in-thing across multitude of sections. In India there has been a phenomenal increase in the turnout on race days and for almost every Run, mini marathon and marathon.
A bigger revelation is that women are also actively taking part in running events these days. Last year, an event in Bangalore attracted 5,000 women runners while it was 6500 in Chennai. Globally the number of women racers has gone up by 26.90% from 2009 to 2014. Indian female runners share 11.76% out of total racers in India, which stands at an enviable No 46 in finishing marathon, thanks to a mindboggling 154.78% rise between 2009 and 2014.
Running has become a social rage Social media reflects the trend that is gaining mass support from all over India and the world. A Youtube channel “India running with Milind Soman” has a subscriber base of 2457. Another Facebook group “A year of running” has 132652 members, while FB page “The Running Bug” boasts of 268078 likes. This further highlights the fact that running has a major impact on Generation Y. The numbers are just getting multiplied by the day, so to say.
Apart from the viral effects Running is getting major support from local governments and corporate alike. 10K Run concept is gaining spotlight because of the numerous benefits and discipline that it inculcates amongst the participants. It increases aerobics by 12% and burns 800 cals during a single race of the 10K.
“A great 10K athlete can become a great all-rounder,” says two-time winner of the Great Manchester Run, Jo Pavey. Hyderabad 10K foundation has been instrumental in organizing several races to promote running as a primary form of fitness for Hyderabadis. Huge race events have taken place in Hyderabad successfully over years.
The recently held ‘Freedom Hyderabad 10K Run’ is aimed at building a beautiful body and mind, points out P Chandra Shekhara Reddy, Vice-President (Sales & Marketing) Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil, which has been in the forefront of bringing about such an event for the past 15 years.
A bigger accolade has come from Telangana State IT Minister KT Rama Rao, who opines ‘it is great to know that a magnificent running culture is growing in and around Hyderabad. I am sure that this will grow further and ensure that Hyderabad will be the best in the country.’
Meanwhile, fitness experts suggest few norms for running. Proper gears such as running shoes, attire and bands are recommended. Running on a proper track and surface is also advised.
Improvements in world records in different running formats, sports trending movies and celebrities running for fund-raising initiatives are also encouraging people to take to running as a sport. Technological improvements have also helped running becoming fashionable these days.
Eminent Race Director, Murali Nannapaneni, has the last word that best sums up the importance of this trend-running invigorates and rejuvenates the body and mind like no other. Indeed! (The writer is a Hyderabad-based PR professional and an avid ‘Run’ enthusiast)