The students, faculty of staff of all universities and colleges should devote an hour each day for on fitness activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation, walking, cycling, aerobics, dance, traditional regional martial arts etc, according to latest guidelines released by higher education sector regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC).

According to the latest Fit India guidelines released by the UGC, all higher education institutes need to accord high priority to physical and mental fitness of students, faculty and staff in the campus.

They should evolve a mechanism for implementation and monitoring of such activities, it said.

They should Incorporate provisions of healthcare and wellness initiatives in the objectives of the institution, the UGC guidelines say.

“Physical fitness period or time slots may be incorporated into the academic calendar of the institutions. The physical fitness time slots may be staggered throughout the day to enable all students to participate. All the students, staff and teachers should be encouraged to devote minimum one hour per day,” the UGC guidelines lay.

Institutions should prepare fitness leaders to mentor students for physical fitness, it said adding that services of student volunteers from the institutions, faculty members, instructors, ex-servicemen, and other volunteers may be obtained on voluntary basis.

Health icons and motivational speakers on health and fitness to address students in campus should be invited.

Top leadership of the institution and professors may actively participate with students and staff in fitness activities such as cycling, running, aerobics, walkathon, marathon, yoga, meditation activities etc. on a periodic basis to lead by example, says another guideline.

Proper utilization of existing infrastructure, encouraging students to climb stairs, walk at least 10000 steps a day, use cycles within campus by creating cycling zones, availing gymnasium facilities etc.

“Addressing the emotional concerns of students to promote mental health. Awareness or sensitisation workshops on depression, anxiety and stress management may be organized for faculty and students. Providing guidance regarding balanced nutritional diet, distribution of pamphlets and information material on the subject,” is another suggestion.

The UGC also sought frequent organization of sports activities (at least once in a quarter) and encourage students to participate in such activities.

Annual health check-ups by volunteer health doctors or voluntary organisations to monitor health and fitness of students, faculty and staff. Data pertaining to health and fitness activities of institutions to be placed on the website and exemplary performers getting national level awards, were among other norms espoused by the regulator