Not just cricket!

The good effects of healthy living are not confined to longevity and distance from the doctor. There is something to be said about looking good too. Let's face it, most of us like to look good. And when someone like Sania Mirza, India's tennis poster girl, says, “A perfect body is the latest fashion statement,” you can't help but agree with her.
Sania, who was in the Capital recently to inaugurate Planet Sports' store at the Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, says fitness should be at the top of everybody's priority list.She believes the scenario in India regarding fitness is changing for the better. “People are more health conscious now,” says Sania. “Everybody wants to be in shape.”

Emphasizing the importance of fitness and exercise, Sania says a sound body is a must for one's progress. “Staying fit increases one's confidence level and keeps one safe from mental ailments like depression and other health related problems such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases.”

As for her own fitness routine, Sania says she maintains a strict schedule including gym, aerobics, and running. She spends three hours in the gym, four times a week. Apart from the gym, she runs on the treadmill, goes for long runs and sprints.

“While running, I put weights on my legs, so that it becomes more rigorous. It feels very painful initially, but then the results are fabulous,” says Sania. She is also into aerobics and other cardio-exercises. “It is very important to be in perfect shape in my profession,” she points out. “And I do everything possible to ensure that I stay in the same state constantly.”

Sania feels that considering sports just as a leisure activity and not a mainstream career option has been the main reason for India lagging behind in the field. She laments that parents consider sports a hindrance to their ward's prospects, and restrain them from giving priority to games and sports. “Luckily for me, my parents always encouraged me to pursue sports,” she adds.

However, she notes, the situation is changing swiftly with extension of government patronage to sports, improved infrastructure and better training facilities. “With the way different sports are being promoted in India at present, the future seems bright. Our performance has improved a lot. We met ground-breaking success at the Asian and Commonwealth Games. It's not just cricket anymore.”

Not that she minds cricket! An avid fan of the game, Sania says she is “lucky to be born in the Sachin (Tendulkar) era”. She says Sachin is a great source of inspiration for her. “The way he made a comeback and blazed with his bat, shutting the mouths of the critics who had written him off, inspires me not to be discouraged by temporary failures.” A die-hard supporter of Team India, Sania says Sachin's feat of 50 hundreds in Test cricket was impossible to achieve for any other batsman.


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