Getting fit

Fitness centres meant exclusively for women are receiving a good response as women here become more health conscious. Rifat Mohidin reports.

I was very worried because everyone told me that I was obese,” says Fozia Khan, a teacher. This started having an effect on her self confidence. “I sort of went into a cocoon. I did not talk much with people and tried to avoid social gatherings,” she says. she tried controlling her diet and read weight loss magazines, but with little success.

When a gym for women opened near her residence she saw a ray of hope. “I was among the first few who enrolled in the gym,” she says. It has been only a month since she joined the gym, but she is already feeling a change. “I see that I have started losing weight,” she says, adding, “but more than that I feel more confident and fitter now.”

Fozia is no exception. Well to do women in Srinagar are rushing to gyms. Around a dozen women-only fitness centres, as these gyms are often referred to, have been opened in Srinagar in the last few years. More are in the offing.

The growth shows that women here are becoming more and more health conscious with every passing day. Many women can be seen on morning walks in early hours after sunrise. The fitness centres have added an extra dimension to this health consciousness. “I spend extra time in the gym to be fitter,” adds Fozia.
“Women have to be health conscious. They should know that during fitness classes ‘feel good’ hormones are released which eases off all the tension. This is good for her physical as well as mental health,” says Dr Shaista. She herself attends gymnasium every day. “Also a lot of women here are obese. For them workouts are a must to remain in good health,” she says.  

A number of women go to the fitness centres because their doctors prescribe it to them. “Obesity leads to a lot of problems particularly cardiac and orthopaedic related ones. And the best way to lose weight is in a scientific manner, where a fitness trainer guides you in a gym,” adds Dr Shaista.
“Gym is a best place to be fit and doctors too suggest their patients to go for Gym. We take care that our customers are fully guided and leave the gym satisfied, besides providing a friendly atmosphere,” says Sehru, owner of Heavy Duty – a gym for women at Jawahir Nagar area of Srinagar.

The gym going trend is catching up with working women as well as homemakers. But some admit that they attend these exercise classes just to chat. “I go to a gym daily, not only for being fit but to have a chat with my friends. I kind of get relieved and relaxed from the stress of my family,” says Sameera, a homemaker.

Some educational institutions for girls have also opened up gyms inside their campuses. Government Women’s College, M A Road is providing the facility of Gym within its campus where the students have to pay a nominal Rs 50 only and the staff members have to pay Rs 100 per month. The gym was established in 2009. “This year about 120 students have registered themselves in it,” says an official in the college.

Students feel that mere appearance of this gym in the campus has made them health conscious. Now students can balance both, their health as well as their studies.

“I was very much worried about my weight but I could not do anything because of being busy with my studies. But now having an affordable gym in campus has made my life easier and I have finally started working out in here,” says Insha Bhat, who is pursuing graduation in science.  Ariba, an arts student too shares same thought and says, “Health has to be given priority, but due to the lack of time we ignore our health, but the gym within the college has helped us to overcome this problem. It is quite good and I feel fresh for the whole day”.

There are different equipments in the gym like joggers, twisters, body increaser, height increasers and exercising cycles. Girls can use different equipments depending on their need.

Apart from good infrastructure, a gym needs a good professional trainer. “The trainer needs to be professionally trained otherwise he can cause harm to the people who he is training”, says Saima, a gym trainer.


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