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When Police Invite Public to Join Their Fitness Journey, the Result is Fit Cop Fit City

2014-batch IPS officer Bhavana Gupta came up with the ‘Fit Cop Fit City’ programme in Surguja, Chhattisgarh. It was launched to monitor the physical and mental fitness of police personnel and the general public. The programme conducts several activities to promote physical and mental well-being.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Maintaining physical fitness is crucial for police officers. In order to efficiently carry out their tasks, including chasing suspects, restraining people, and lugging equipment, officers need to build and retain the physical strength and endurance required. And, they can better manage the physical and mental demands of their jobs and maintain their general well-being by staying physically active.

In order to monitor the physical health of police officers along with the general public, the Superintendent of Police in Surguja, Chhattisgarh, Bhavana Gupta, IPS, started the ‘Fit Cop Fit City’ programme.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, the officer shared details about the same.

IPS officer Bhavana Gupta waving the green flag to commence the marathon

FIT COP FIT CITY

The 2014 batch officer started the Fit Cop Fit City initiative to encourage both the general population and the police force to be mentally, physically, and spiritually fit. To track the types of physical health-related concerns that the police officers in the force were dealing with, she and her team conducted a thorough examination of every member of the force, as part of the programme.

“The work of a police officer is quite stressful. We frequently spend time away from our family while working irregular hours and late into the night. We also suffer from life morbidity, which makes us particularly vulnerable to lifestyle-related illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and heart ailments. This tends to take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health,” shared Ms. Gupta.

ACTIVITIES INVOLVED

Based on this, the officer devised the Fit Cop Fit City programme which includes a plethora of activities such as physical fitness sessions, mental fitness sessions, along with dietary changes. Two hundred police officers were chosen for the initiative’s pilot programme because they posed a higher risk due to their obesity and other serious illnesses.

Ms. Gupta invited and hired several physical instructors from other disciplines, such as aerobics, as well as physical trainers and assistants from various NGOs and communities. In addition, nutritionists were consulted, and according to the body types and requirements of each and every police officer, individual diet consultations and diet charts were developed.

PROMOTING EXERCISE

Ms. Gupta further came up with special prizes for those who were successful in achieving their objectives in order to promote the programme and inspire more and more police officers to take part in it. These incentives included the title of ‘Fit Cop of the Month,’ which was given out in front of the force by the SP and IG.

“We received very progressive results from the pilot project. People who weighed 95 kilos at the beginning of the initiative have worked arduously to get strong and healthy and have dropped to 70 kg. Their transformation has been immense,” Ms. Gupta told Indian Masterminds.

FOLLOWING A STRICT ROUTINE

The 200 officers from the pilot project were subjected to a rigorous schedule that required them to wake up at 5 am each morning and participate in physical exercises, including aerobics, yoga, and Zumba, in addition to mental health sessions. They would then closely adhere to their diet plans and stay away from junk food. 

“We held all these classes in public places like big auditoriums, parks, and gardens, because of which, the general public also started joining us, gradually. Today, we have outreached to nearly 2000 citizens and more than 500 police personnel are associated with the programme,” the officer said.

ARRANGING EVENTS

To maintain the momentum of the project, Ms. Gupta and her team also organised a number of events every weekend, including a 10-kilometre run, hiking, cycling, and other enjoyable activities. 

“I am happy to share that the programme has been running continuously, and is mostly public driven. We occasionally have to halt it because of pressing law and order concerns. During those times, the public begins calling us repeatedly to inquire about the cause of the interruption and the specifics of when we will resume our activities. It has largely become a community-centric initiative and gives us a path to connect with the public on a more personal level,” Ms. Gupta said. 

She gives special attention to all the gazetted officers who are supposed to attend the activities once a week, according to their schedules, on a rotation basis. 

Ms. Gupta personally tries to attend the exercises, twice or thrice a week and conducts special Zumba sessions as their instructor.

TRAINED POLICE PERSONNEL

The Zumba and yoga classes are now led by specially trained officers from Surguja Police. At first, they had to seek outside assistance from private instructors and expert organizations, but now that the police officers are competent enough to lead the exercises and workshops, it is a police-driven project.

Even the general public enjoys taking part in these sessions which include not only physical health-related exercises, but also music, lights, and dance.


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