A regular morning walker, Stalin has taken to new and different forms of workout to stay physically fit. Apart from hitting the gym regularly at his home, the chief minister has developed a liking for cycling on the scenic East Coast Road to keep himself fit. Accompanied by a small team of half a dozen cyclists, including his son in law Sabareeshan, Stalin rides his bike for two dozen kilometers back and forth at the break of dawn on weekends, an opportunity for the local residents and fitness freaks to grab a selfie with the sporting gear clad CM known for his trademark white veshti and shirt.
Even on Saturday, a sweatshirt and tracksuit-clad Stalin was spotted in the Tholkappiyar Poonga in Adyar. That there is an element of regularity in his exercise schedule could be comprehended from his Tweet this morning. “Today’s exercise in Thokkappiyar Poonga. Everyone of us should pay at least a little of the attention we give to our work to maintain our health. Healthy body and healthy body are real assets, ” tweeted Stalin, before asking the state people to mask up. Unsurprisingly, Stalin is not the actual poster boy of physical fitness in the incumbent DMK regime. It might not be an overstatement to say, the State health minister Ma Subramaniam leads in the league of netas’ viz-a-vis fitness regime. A record 200 marathon runner, Subramaniam finds time to hit the road to practice for his next marathon. Be it during the Delhi visit to seek additional vaccines for the state or inaugurating a Covid facility in Coimbatore, Ma Su finds time to jog on Parliament street in the national capital and inhabitable wilderness in Coimbatore to prepare for his next marathon.
The former Mayor who took to running to counter Diabetes made Marathon running a hobby, much to envy of other politicians. Such is his commitment to Marathon that Subramaniam had run a marathon on his house terrace when stepping out of the house was dreaded during the peak of the pandemic, earning him the name fitness freak among his party colleagues. State school education minister Mahesh Poyyamozhi, a relatively junior minister, does a fair bit of exercising too. He tries his hands on a variety of sports in his native Trichy every morning. Mahesh, in fact, released a short video, explaining how his day starts with one-hour exercise at 5.30am daily. “One should make it a habit to wake up early. Though we spend the rest of the day working for others, we should ensure that the first one hour is dedicated to exercise to keep oneself fit. It is essential to exercise daily and stay fit, ” says Mahesh who bats in the nets, tries a few dunks in the basketball court and even practices Silambam to burn calories.
The fitness regime is not confined to DMK leaders alone. PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, who was the president of Tamil Nadu Badminton Association, does not fail to swing his racquet on the shuttle court regularly. Needless to say, a good number of BJP leaders make it a point to perform Yoga daily to stay fit. AIADMK’s D Jayakumar, who was into weightlifting in his youth, has earned the moniker ‘boxer’ Jayakumar for his penchant for boxing. Video grabs of the ex-minister trying a few jabs and punches at amateur boxers during his ministership were a hit among the netizens last year. While some do actual exercise to burn calories, a few leaders like former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami help motivate people who work out. One cannot forget the brief workout video of the AIADMK deputy coordinator during his chief ministership. Not a fitness lover like his political rival Stalin, Palaniswami, visiting a sports facility in the city during his tenure, briefly tested his physical ability on a chest fly machine to motivate the sportsmen and pose for the anxious lensmen swarming him. A few years ago, the state government had even opened a gym for staff at the state secretariat to help boost the fitness level of employees. A sizable number of MLAs and MPs also use their morning walking and jogging sessions during non-election season to network with their voters and local residents. Some civic issues in the constituencies were resolved during the morning jogs of elected representatives too.