Chat Seasoned fitness trainer Kahkashan Ali believes the fitness scenario is changing fast in semi-urban and rural India
“L ack of activity deteriorates gravely one's health condition. Exercise is the medicine for the well being of a person's physical, emotional, and mental states. Staying fit alone keeps the body and the mind in vigour,” says Reebok-trained fitness expert S. Kahkashan Ali. Based in the semi-urban city of Rampur in western U.P. for the past 14 years, Kahkashan says the scope of health and fitness is not just limited to the big cities. “People are getting equally health conscious in small towns and remote places as well,” she says.
India's first ECSM approved fitness trainer, Kahkashan says she decided to settle in Rampur as she wanted to take fitness trends to the ‘real' India. “The majority in India lives in the and semi-urban areas. I considered it my duty to create awareness regarding fitness and exercise among the masses,” she explains.
The fitness expert says the attitudes of people in small places are more inclined towards fitness and health now. “During my initial years (at Rampur), I saw that people were very negligent towards this important aspect. They used to consider it a waste of time and resources. People used to taunt me saying ‘oh she is running a health club. She must know the meaning of aerobics', but gradually things started to change.” Slowly, says Kahkashan, people realised that if they didn't add physical exercise to their daily routine, they would find themselves falling ill.
The trainer feels the positive change in people's attitudes is attributable to the media and technology. “With the media focussing on health issues these days, people are getting exposed to programmes and drives related to health and its benefits via the Internet and television, and it has contributed a lot in changing people's perceptions towards the subject.” The trainer adds that people are also fashion conscious these days and therefore take interest in exercises to stay in shape and look good.
Kahkashan says that since the last couple of years there has been a steep increase in the number of people visiting the club. “People are showing more and more interest towards fitness . They are curious to know about health and fitness. Now, there is always a huge gathering at my club. The number of members of the club has gone to 1,000. The response has been overwhelming,” she says.
The trainer regularly attends fitness workshops in countries like the U.S., Thailand, and the U.K.
“I keep myself updated with the latest trends in the fitness arena.” She intends to expand her reach and is planning to open health clubs in nearby locations in the near future. Stressing the importance of exercise, the trainer says, “It should be a way of life, a part of the everyday schedule.”
Take it from a pro.
FAISAL M. NAIM