Srinagar: With facilities like Musical fountains, a modern gymnasium, jogging tracks, lawn tennis and basket ball courts, multi-cuisine continental restaurant, library and a swimming pool all at one spot-- the scenic Srinagar city is all set to get its first ever multi-facility joggers park.

The sprawling sports centre in Raj Bagh on the banks of the famed Jhelum river, the Srinagar joggers park is a dream come true for much of its 1.3 million population. Located just two kilometres away from city centre Lal Chowk, the sports centre is the first of its kind with all modern facilities for the health-conscious and sports-loving residents of the city.

It is the brainchild of Minister of State for Tourism Nasir Aslam Wani who says the park will provide facilities to the hundreds of locals who are seen in the mornings and evenings jogging and brisk walking in the city along busy roads. With no specific facility for such physical activity, city joggers have so far been using the city roads which are fast becoming overcrowded due to heavy traffic.

"One had no option so far. You either get up with the first light to do your bit of physical activity or decide to do so very late in the evenings," said Khwaja Nisar Hussain, a retired chief engineer.

"Roads are overcrowded and the confusion ruling these roads is hazardous especially for brisk walkers and joggers. The right answer to all this would naturally be a safe and exclusive joggers park. The park was long overdue. Never mind, better late than never."

According to studies, the lifestyle of locals is fast becoming sedentary in Srinagar city that has resulted in many health problems like obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Nisar Shah, a senior doctor at a government SMHS hospital, said obesity, hypertension and diabetes are all lifestyle-related health problems and are fast catching with locals.

"If all of us ensure to do a brisk walk or some other kind of good physical exercise for at least 45 minutes daily, most of these problems would automatically vanish," Shah said, welcoming the initiative to have the multi-facility sports centre in the city.

The doctor said the growing population of health-conscious Kashmiris today is a far cry from the past when anybody doing a brisk walk or some other kind of physical activity would only do so following medical advice.

"There were times when one would ask a friend or relative doing any kind of physical activity what was wrong with his health. People did a bit of walk or played some badminton, especially in middle age, only under the doctor's advice in the past.

"Today one is happy to see the trend picking up fast in all age groups. Such activities do not only help longevity but more importantly improve the quality of life," said Shah.

(JPN/Agencies)