Amitash Pradhan (centre) has introduced his parents Girish and Weena to crossfit training.
Every evening, the Pradhans head to the gym they have set up on their terrace in Adyar, where they work out for two solid hours. And the trainer is none other than their son and actor, Amitash Pradhan. “I have always enjoyed working out, but last year, I underwent a surgery and didn’t know what kind of exercises I could do after that. That’s when my son began showing me what small workouts I could start with,” says Weena Pradhan, 57, adding that they even joined a gym together.
“When the national lockdown was announced, we dashed to a store nearby and picked up equipment and set up our home gym.” It’s usually parents who introduce their children to fitness and exercise regimes. But the reverse is also true in many cases, especially during lockdown, when parents are inspired to hop on to the treadmill or wield those dumb bells after seeing youngsters work out. Amitash, for instance, has introduced his parents to crossfit training.
“Chris Hemsworth has released a home fitness app and we follow it,” says Amitash, who works out for three-and-a-half hours every day. “I think I have woken a beast in my mom, she is now obsessed with it. My parents keep running things by me and I monitor my dad, Girish’s workout too. I have become their trainer on the terrace.” And it has yielded results. “When I first began the new routine, I felt I wouldn’t be able to do it but now I enjoy it,” says Weena, adding that left to herself she would probably have continued doing whatever she was used to.
“Youngsters are more aware of the changing trends in fitness and know how to put together an exercise routine or do them in the right order. And it has paid off, as I have lost 4.5kg during the lockdown. I have never been this weight.” Having a workout partner can do wonders for you. That’s why many fitness plans recommend exercise buddies.
According to the 2018 Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s annual Topline Participation Report, 43% of those who reported being inactive said, “having someone to take part with” would make them likely to participate. Also, nearly 32% said “having a friend take me along” would do the same. And fitness experts feel that’s where finding exercise buddies within the family helps, especially during a lockdown.
Paul Livingstone Nelson, sports physiotherapist and fitness trainer, says adult children are often eager to help their parents with their health and fitness goals. “I usually get elderly clients who want to deal with lower back, knee and shoulder pain and get fit again. The sons and daughters who come along often take videos of the exercises that I recommend and then coach their parents at home,” he says.
Siddharth Sunil, 25, has also been helping his father Sunil Subramaniam, stay fit during lockdown. “My father began training with me last year as he wanted to lose weight as well as look and feel better,” says Siddharth, a former national level rower and a strength and conditioning coach. “Now he goes on regular walks in the neighbourhood and also works out once a week under my supervision in our home gym to maintain his strength levels.”
Manuel Thomas, who runs Budokai Martial Arts Association, says that after he began conducting virtual classes for his students, parents have also got interested in joining the workout sessions to up their fitness levels. “I began giving the children daily exercises and challenges. For instance, how many upper punches you can do in a minute, etc. Parents had to take videos and send them to me, and I soon found that many of them began doing their kids’ exercises,” says Thomas.
“Now there are whole families working out together.” Supriya Sethuram, for instance, says her husband Badhrinath and she have begun working out daily with the children. “My son Neel, 6, and daughter Anya, 6, have online karate classes and tare given daily tasks. So I also work out with them, doing the same exercises they do, and my husband follows his own fitness routine,” she says, adding that she had also signed up for classes after seeing her kids work out. “Now, working out from 4pm to 5pm has become a daily routine.”