India’s 68-year-old prime minister Narendra Modi inspires more Indians to stay fit than sports stars or film personalities.
For the second consecutive year, Modi has topped a list of the country’s top 30 health influencers prepared by wearable devices maker GOQii. The prime minister beat the likes of Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, who is trained in martial arts and has a black belt in Taekwondo, and even yoga guru Ramdev.
“Modi was instrumental in instituting the International Day of Yoga (in) 2015, which is now observed globally. He is not only keen on improving India but keen on improving the health and fitness of Indians as well,” said the GOQii report.
The top 30 were selected from a list of 100 individuals and assessed by their number of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Other criteria included the number of Google News mentions and an estimate of how much each person’s career focuses on fitness and health. The data was collected between January and March this year.
Modi is a self-proclaimed yoga enthusiast, often using his social media influence to talk about discipline.
In 2018, he released a nearly two-minute video of himself doing asanas (body postures) at his official residence in New Delhi. It provided a glimpse of his fitness regime, including stretching and a few breathing exercises.
In May 2018, Modi had posted another video on Twitter after Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli sent him a “fitness challenge.”
The challenge was an initiative by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the union minister of youth affairs and sports in the Modi government’s first term.
In a bid to make India fitter, Rathore started Hum fit to India fit (If we are fit then India is fit). Besides Kohli, he passed on the challenge to Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan and badminton champion Saina Nehwal, who also posted their fitness videos on social media.