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Active Champions

Active Champions Series: B.R. Sankeerth

“Being mentally occupied with a sport or a goal or a dream, I do think it helps you deal with stress.”

Many Canadians want to find a way to move their bodies every day. That’s because engaging in daily physical activity is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost overall health and wellbeing. An active lifestyle not only contributes to improved physical health but to better mental, emotional and psychological health, too. It can even strengthen social bonds between friends, family and the larger community.

It’s not always easy to find time to introduce daily physical activity, however.

B.R. Sankeerth in Huelva competition

PHOTO: B.R. SANKEERTH’S INSTAGRAM @SANKEERTHBR

Canadian Badminton player B.R. Sankeerth can relate to the struggle. The men’s singles badminton player, currently ranked 83rd in the world, has some advice for those that are trying to move more in their daily lives.

His advice:

“Stop being so hard on yourself and start having fun.”

“It is hard for someone to just get up and say, ‘I’ve got to run every day. I’ve got to hit the gym five days a week’,” the 23-year-old member of Canada’s national badminton team told ParticipACTION.
But making physical activity difficult or unpleasant means it won’t be a part of your daily life. Who wants to schedule 30 minutes of time you don’t enjoy? Sankeerth believes physical activity shouldn’t feel like punishment. It should feel like fun, a form of pleasure. The more fun you have, the more likely you’ll repeat it.

B.R. Sankeerth playing badminton

PHOTO: B.R. SANKEERTH’S INSTAGRAM @SANKEERTHBR

“Just go out there and have fun,” says Sankeerth. “Whether it’s playing football or squash with your buddies for an hour, go do it. You have to make sure it’s a good time because then you’ll want to do it again.”

Play a game, go for a walk, and then sit down and have a barbecue or grab a coffee. That’s how you make it an enjoyable part of your life. Because when you make physical movement part of the way you spend time with friends or family, you also reap physical activity’s greater benefits.

“It is physical activity and at the same time you are building your relationships with your friends,” says Sankeerth.

For Sankeerth, physical activity has been a way of enjoying life since he was a kid growing up in India. There, in addition to playing badminton, he swam and even competed in Go-Karting. Eventually, his love of badminton saw him compete on India’s junior national team.

B.R. SANKEERTH in a badminton game

PHOTO: B.R. SANKEERTH’S INSTAGRAM @SANKEERTHBR

But it wasn’t until he and his family moved to Canada when he was a teenager that Sankeerth was able to feel the thrill of international competition.

“I’m really proud of the opportunities I have and the work I’m doing just to stay out here competing on the world stage. Not everyone can do this.”

Though he trains between India and Canada, he’s proud of his status on Canada’s national badminton team.
“It means a lot to me to represent Canada internationally. If I was in India, I wouldn’t have an opportunity to do this. I can’t take this for granted and I never will. It’s amazing to be honest.”

When he’s not travelling around the globe competing, Sankeerth indulges his passion for movement in many different ways at home. “I love doing other sports. It is a major part of my life in Toronto.”

B.R. SANKEERTH Playing badminton

PHOTO : B.R. SANKEERTH’S INSTAGRAM @SANKEERTHBR

He plays beach tennis recreationally. “I’m pretty good at it,” he says.  His skills have gotten to a level that The Beach Tennis Association of Canada is considering letting him compete in international tournaments for them, he says.

“I just started [playing beach tennis] for fun,” he laughs.

It’s not all fun and games, though. Sankeerth also has to cope with the disappointments that come with being a professional athlete. One of those disappointments was missing out on Tokyo. But it’s when he’s feeling down and out that physical activity helps him, too.

“Being busy with something and chasing [a goal] and being mentally occupied with a sport or a goal or a dream, I do think it helps you deal with stress.”

Though he was disappointed to miss out on the games, he’s not letting that get in the way looking ahead to a summer of training competition. He is gearing up to qualify for World Championships in late summer and early fall. “I’m looking forward to score some points!”

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