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How technology is helping more Indians stay fit amid COVID-19 crisis

Recently, actress Shilpa Shetty announced a 21-day free weight loss program on her fitness app. The initiative is in association with the Centre's flagship fitness movement ‘Fit India’.

April 05, 2020 / 01:39 PM IST
Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

Staying fit may seem to be difficult amid the COVID-19 crisis. After all, what can you do to be healthy and fit while staying at home?

However, it looks like there are ways to give your body the right dose of exercise, even at home.

Trainers and fitness training companies have come up with videos, one-on-one interactions — all online — to help people continue their fitness regime even in times of crisis.

In fact, recently, actress Shilpa Shetty announced a 21-day free weight loss program on her fitness app. The initiative is in association with the government's flagship fitness movement ‘Fit India’.

The programme includes features like eclectic mix of yoga, daily functional exercises with emphasis on lower body, upper body and core, along with stamina and flexibility, a meal-by-meal diet plan, a 10-minute ‘Meditation for Relaxation’ programme to help calm your mind and relieve stress during these testing times.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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While online fitness classes are an interesting trend, what is more interesting is that such programmes could help generate interest in staying fit amid a larger population.

According to Rishikesh Kumar, Founder and CEO of fitness training company Xtraliving, only two to three percent of the population goes to fitness centres. But now, the remaining 97-98 percent who did not prioritise fitness is also forced to think about it due to the pandemic. These online fitness classes have become relevant to people in the present situation.

"More people are realising the importance of good health. There has been a shift in priority when it comes to health due to the outbreak. People are managing work as well as fitness now while they are at home," Kumar said.

In fact, he added that this behavioural change of people opting for fitness regime through online classes was expected in 10-15 years.

Along with people adjusting to newer ways of staying fit, even trainers are learning how to make people fit online.

Kumar said that when they decided to start the online fitness course, instructors associated with his company had to learn how to coach people online overnight.

This new trend is not only keeping India fit, but also helping gym instructors and fitness experts stay relevant even when people cannot hit the gym.

Besides keeping them relevant, online fitness courses can also support instructors financially.

Platforms like Fitternity and Xtraliving are looking at monetising the new business model.

Kumar, who started personalised experience sessions from April 1, is planning to price them anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. These sessions will have two trainers. While one will exercise with people who have joined the session, the other will monitor, just like in a gym or a fitness centre.

The gym and fitness industry has been hit hard due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown. Going online and reconnecting with people seems to be the only way to infuse some confidence in the industry.

Maryam Farooqui
first published: Apr 5, 2020 11:50 am