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Fitness and Sport for Expats in India

Submitted: September 2013

India’s Sports and Fitness Industry is booming with an increasing number of gyms, health clubs and sporting facilities throughout the country, and many people are becoming more concerned for their fitness and health. As is expected for a country with such a burgeoning population, numerous specialised industries make up the fitness sector and a vast number of sporting activities available for both spectatorship and participation at various levels, catering to many different tastes. You are very likely to find a fitness or sporting activity in India which will be pleasing to you.

Most people in India are interested in sports; as such many sports are played domestically and numerous international sporting events have been hosted in India over the years. Hockey, in which India has a rather impressive record for their success in the Olympics, is deemed by many as the national sport despite being less popular among locals when compared to cricket. Other popular games include football (soccer), basketball, tennis, motor sports, golf, and badminton; but in such a large and populous country, there are a lot of other sports which are played by many people.

Having hoested numerous international sporting events, many cities can boast of modern sporting facilities which are equipped with gymnasia, swimming pools, cycling velodromes, and numerous courts and fields. These include the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala, which is Asia’s largest sports institute and is known as the Mecca of Indian Sports. India is also home to the Salt Lake Stadium, which is one of the largest stadiums in the world, and several others throughout its cities which have enabled the country to be the host of the Commonwealth Games and Cricket Wold Cups over the last few years. India also hosts many annual sporting events including the glamorous Indian Premier League Cricket tournament, which attracts cricketers from all over the world.

In addition to modern sporting facilities, India has many unspoilt natural areas such as the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas which offers a wide variety of activities such as mountain climbing, trekking, skiing and ice skating. Water rafting is also popular, and many Indian rivers such Zanskar, Sutlej and Ganga are known to be some of the most exciting and even challenging for rafters, yet they offer some of India’s least seen and most spectacular sceneries. Other popular outdoor activities include rock-climbing, hot air ballooning, fishing, diving and snorkelling.

Besides sports which are commonly found internationally, many have also been developed indigenously and are played by people throughout India, particularly in villages. Among these, Kabaddi, an indigenous form of wrestling, and Kho-Kho, a tag team sport, is the most popular, and national competitions are usually held for these sports.

If you are considering enrolment at a fitness centre (gym) in India, selecting the one most suitable to you may not be an easy task as there are many options available especially in and around larger urban centres. Selecting your fitness centre or health club is an important decision as it may affect your fitness regime. Of the many local-based gyms in India, the Talwalkars gym chain is the most popular based on its number of locations throughout the country; however many international fitness chains have established their presence in India such as the UK’s Fitness First and the US-based Gold’s Gym. The annual fee of fitness chains in India vary from Rs 10,000- 36,000 depending on several factors such as degree of personalised attention, or even location in some instances. Some gyms may offer a free-trial before you actually register as a member, which serves as a good way to help decided if the gym is suitable for you.

You should be mindful that the number of people who drop out of their respective gyms is quite significant, though the gym itself may not be the cause; you should ensure that the one you select matches the standards you are looking for. For some factors to consider before joining a fitness centre, click here.



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