Ever since we arrived in Mumbai a little over six years ago, we have sought to keep your city, and you, our reader, at the heart of our newspaper. We have constantly, constructively engaged with the city.
Starting today, we unveil one of our biggest endeavours to heighten that association with you and your city: Mission Fitter Mumbai. Because more than anything else, perhaps, fitness is the key to a better life. It is something that touches you every day. Whether we are fit or not dictates how we live.
The stereotype that links body size to fitness makes us assume — wrongly — that thinness is synonymous with fitness. Being healthy is not about how slim or fat you are; it is about how active you are.
Just 150 minutes of brisk activity every week can yield rich dividends. Exercise, reported researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year, results in the slashing of high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar; high levels of one or more of these can cause heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
India is the diabetes capital of the world. The number of people affected is expected to go up from the current 50.8million to 87million by 2030. Heart disease causes one in four of all deaths in India. We talk a lot about India’s demographic dividend. Without fit citizens, we won’t be able to make use of its advantages.
In Mumbai, the problem is exacerbated because of long, sapping commutes, a paucity of open spaces and debilitating pollution. Too many people find too many reasons why they can’t stay fit.
So what can one do?
Here is how we can help: In an initiative that will stretch over two months, we shall present to you in the paper a wide variety of content that will be acutely relevant, interesting and rich in variety.
We kick off surveys: of professionals between the ages of 25 and 49; of homemakers who are aged 30 or more; of young people between 15 and 24 years old; and of parents who have children — the citizens of tomorrow — between the ages of six and 14.
The results speak for themselves.
An average of 88% of the respondents across the four groups feel that Mumbai does not have sufficient playgrounds, open spaces and amenities for staying fit More than 80% believe that the state is not doing enough to help citizens stay fit.
Sixty-five per cent of the professionals feel that living in Mumbai — with its long commutes, awful traffic and pollution — is the biggest impediment to staying fit.
There is more, much more.
All this might seem grim. Well, all this is grim. But no matter. There is a way around it. It is possible, within the constraints of our frenzied, frenetic lives, to work towards getting fit, or fitter, and staying that way. If you put your mind to it, nothing is unachievable. We are in it together. Together for a fitter Mumbai.
for complete survey