Jhala: Cycling is my fitness armour

Exercise is a vital part of our lives, and it may get tougher to follow a strict routine as the years roll by. But have you tried cycling? Raghvendra Sinh Jhala has been cycling for eight years which has kept him in shape. He has participated in various cycling and running competitions in India and different parts of the world that have helped him overcome the restrictions that come with age.

“Having a family history of hypertension and diabetes, it was imperative to exercise and stay healthy. Cycling is a non-impact sport and therefore easy on your knees plus it takes you to far off places which is exciting and refreshing,” shared Jhala.

Raghvendra Sinh Jhala leading a cycling group

It is never too late to start with anything, and Jhala believes that using alternative techniques that are suitable for a specific body type are essential to deal with stress and anxiety.

“It started in 2011 at the age of 40, before that, I played badminton for five years but caused a knee injury. Cycling strengthened my knees and steadily, I could increase mileage in the running. I can say that cycling is my fitness armour.”

One of the most significant advantages of sports is that one gets to travel and explore different countries and their culture. Once someone experiences the joy that comes from it, motivation is hardly an issue.

“The thrill of travelling for events and the benefits which you see in your body is extremely satisfying,” Jhala told SportyCorner.

The mentality to continue pushing oneself is something that drives people to achieve the impossible, and that will power usually tends to be the difference while competing in an event. Nowadays, a lot of people take fitness seriously and stick to a healthy diet, which was not the case earlier.

“As far as the age is concerned, 47 years in India may seem a lot but participating in London-Edinburgh-London 1400 km ride, I met so many riders close to 80 but still fit and participating,” Jhala on age not being a barrier.

Competing in the Ironman Triathlon Championship was one of Jhala’s most notable achievements. It was a sheer test of stamina, endurance and resistance. It requires a preparation that is fused with discipline and consistency, something Jhala has been regular with over the past few years.

Raghvendra Sinh Jhala (Right) at the Ironman contest finish line

“Five years back, I could not have imagined doing 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run all one after another. In April 2019 I did the Ironman Texas North American Championship in approximately 14 hours. I want to do a few more of those and then see where time takes me.”

Research at the University of Sydney found out that office workers who sit for more than ten hours at desks have a 48% increase in the risk of death. Jhala is a chartered accountant by profession and understands the risks that come with a desk job.

“Everyone will be hooked to exercise once they see the benefits. It is difficult to keep the motivation because of business and housework, but if you want to feel happy, then exercise is a must, even 20-30 minutes of Yoga helps,” Jhala advised.

Jhala has not only proved that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ but has also inspired many young Indians to step up and take an interest in sports from an early age which builds a solid foundation for their future. His son Ajayraj Jhala is one such example who has decided to tread on the roads that have been conquered by his father.

Ajayraj Sinh Jhala (Left) with his father Raghvendra Sinh Jhala

“The biggest compliment is that my son follows me. Of course, many look up as no one has done this in my hometown. I am sure there would be many ironmen by the end of this year.”

Age is just a number when it comes to staying in shape and keeping oneself fit. People like Jhala are inspiring others to follow their goals, and it might not just be cycling but any other sport or physical activity. Usually, track events and contact sports require more energy and stamina, which make them harder to pursue after a certain age although there are many indoor sports like table tennis, squash and badminton that can boost one’s physical attributes and prepare them for marathons or other field sports.

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