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Article by Mohan Babu

Sporting passions!

Young techies in India rarely think of flexing their muscles, but in a health conscious country like the US many have found a new passion — golf, writes Mohan Babu

A healthy mind lives in a healthy body, so goes the popular adage. In a country where medical insurance and treatment of illness - as I expounded in an earlier column of mine — can be exorbitant, it is of paramount importance to lead a healthy lifestyle, actively taking part in sporting activities and/or exercising regularly.

I remember the first time I came abroad. In a span of less than four weeks, I managed to gain about five kilos and it is not hard to see how. I was gorging on veggie burgers with cheese, coke — rich in sugar and of course enjoying sumptuous Indian dinners with friends at local Indian restaurants. A few weeks of this lifestyle and I realised that I had to make a conscious effort to control my diet and imbibe another facet of American life — taking to exercising regularly.

In India, young techies rarely think of flexing their muscles, content that the humdrum of daily existence is sufficient to sap one’s energies. Walking a few blocks to the bus-stop or even auto/taxi stand, a few stairs up to the first or second floor and other little bouts of ‘exercise’ adds up to burn calories. However, in the US with very little incentive to burn calories in the normal course, one is more motivated to make exercising a part of one’s routine.

One does not need to look far for avenues to exercise and stay healthy. Of course, the multi million dollar health industry makes enough buzz in the form of advertisements and hoardings everywhere that one is constantly reminded of the need to exercise. Those inclined to take up sports and games, which they enjoyed in their childhood and youth, also have ample opportunities open to them in the form of local clubs, tournaments and what have you. Most cities have a range of clubs to choose from — clubs for judo, karate, hockey, soccer, tennis, racquetball, badminton and other athletic activities. It may come as a surprise, but a few large cities in the US have their own cricket leagues too. A friend of mine who used to play for his university back home didn’t think twice about driving 150 miles to a nearby city every weekend to take part in their tournament!

Of course for those not inclined to playing games, gyms provide an outlet. Many large apartment complexes invest in their own exclusive gyms, so do some large companies. The YMCA aka ‘The Y’ is a popular chain of health and fitness with centers spread in cities across the country. The Y that I frequent is a huge complex, complete with its own indoor full-sized swimming pool, basketball court, racquetball courts and mechanised gyms. Of course, there are dozens of private and commercial chains of health and fitness centers that one can join. In the year 2000, 54.5 million Americans over the age of 6 (22 percent of the population), exercised at a health club. Of this number, a projected 32.8 million were health club members. A 7 percent rise over the 30.6 million projected for 1999. The net for profit sector (YMCA’s, JCC’s, hospital-based clubs, residential, municipal, university and military facilities) account for 38 percent or 13.1 million members.

Americans tend to take their exercising quite seriously, spending huge amounts of time and money on personal trainers, fitness evaluation, exercise paraphernalia etc. They also tend to chalk out religious plans for exercising. Most Indians on the other hand, tend to skip the expense of personal trainers etc, content to follow a yo-yo pattern - exercising regularly for a few weeks and then slacking till they feel that they need to start again. Of course, there are few amongst us who are quite sporty and go the full nine yards.

Speaking of sports and exercising, golfing is probably the most popular sports that middle-aged men take up. It not only helps one get up and about, making participants walk a few miles, but is also seen as a handy tool for business managers and executives to network. Many of my fellow techies, in their early thirties feel that they are ‘too old’ to be jumping and hopping in the gym. They are taking to golf like ducks to water. Even yours truly went down to the nearby mini-golf range and swung a few buckets of balls over the labour-day weekend. He is contemplating going down to the nearby range with a few buddies to learn the finer nuances of birdies and boogies.





About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
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    For FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America, visit the Ask-A-Desi section

    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


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