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"Sitting reduces our power, our fitness," said Milind Soman in an interaction with Narendra Modi

The first anniversary of the Fit India movement saw Prime Minster Narendra Modi interact with fitness influencers from across the country which included supermodel and actor Milind Soman, who has over the years come to be recognised be as a fitness idol. Addressing him as ‘Made in India Milind’ referring to the famous 90s song that shot 54-year-old Soman to fame, the prime minister appreciated his contribution to the fitness movement in the country.

“You have been a vocal supporter of Make in India. You also have a popular book with Made in India title,” he said.

Soman responded with a smile and said that movements like Fit India are essential and are working very well. “Our country doesn’t have a culture such that everyone has to keep fit to work. Now people are realising that to keep fit and healthy, they need to make efforts. This is a very good thing that the Fit India movement is doing. People have finally started to realise their potential,” he said.

On a lighter note, PM Modi prodded Soman about his age and said: “Whatever you say your age is – are you really that old or is it something else?”

To this, Soman said, “A lot of people ask me the same question about my age. They also ask me how am I able to run such long distances (ultra marathons, ironman, ran from Delhi to Mumbai, 2012) in this age. I tell them – my mother at 81 – is capable of doing all this. I want to be able to do that when I am her age. She is a huge source of inspiration for me and for many others.”

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Soman also questioned terms like ‘normal fitness’. “We all know that our forefathers were so fit. They used to walk for 40-50 kilometres. Even today, women in rural areas walk 40 kilometres to fetch water and even work in the farm sector. But in the urban areas where amenities like electricity, technology, internet are there, we keep sitting. And sitting reduces our power, our fitness. So, what is normal for a person is one can easily run and walk 100 kilometres.

Introducing a new slogan to encourage everyone to exercise for at least half an hour daily with ‘Fitness ki dose, aadha ghanta roz‘, PM Modi said that fitness doesn’t have any age bar. “I had been forwarded a video of your 81-year-old mother doing push-ups and I had watched it at least five times in awe,” he said.

Soman shared that his mother started trekking at the age of 60 years with Kilimanjaro. “We keep inspiring each other. I keep learning from her. I taught her push ups, squats and other exercises that she does daily,” he said.

PM Modi asked Soman about whether he still continues to swim to stay fit. Soman candidly shared that he doesn’t follow any one particular routine. “I like exercising. Whatever time I manage to get whether three minutes or 30 minutes or three hours. I utilise all the time I get to do some or the other activity. Sometimes, I am pressed for time. I keep telling everyone that I don’t go to any gym, I don’t use any machine which is useful for any athlete. However, if you just want to stay fit in everyday life, and want to become healthy, you can stay so even at home. I can stay home and stay fit even in an 8 by 10 room. I can prepare for marathons, can run marathons,” Soman, who even runs barefoot, said while quashing popular perceptions that one needs to do and have “so much” to keep fit.

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