Ajay Srivastava, Head – Information Technology, Spice Retail, on how the sport prepares him for life on and off the court.
A strategic thinker, Ajay Srivastava believes in keeping both his mind and body agile. With over 24 years experience under his belt, Ajay is adept at using information technology to analyse complex operations, zero in on the most effective improvement opportunities to accelerate profit growth and deliver business transformation. Ajay is currently Head – IT at Spice Retail, and was recognised for his achievements as a Data Centre and Infrastructure Icon at CIO Power List 2016. Here he talks to us about his favourite extra-curricular activity that keeps his mind and body in perfect shape.
Love for fitness
“Fitness is important to me,” says Ajay. “I go for a brisk morning walk every day, and so ensure that fitness is part of my daily routine and I stay energetic throughout the day. I love playing badminton, and as a child I would play it almost every day. Now, however, I play only on weekends and holidays. I also participate in competitions held within our group companies and have won a few prizes.”
“I’ve been playing badminton since my school days and I love the game. It’s a great mind and body exercise, and helps you develop agility, as you have to get from one side of the court to other side quickly. Badminton works out the entire body, and improves endurance and strength. It’s a great game and a superb cardiovascular activity because you are constantly on the move. It’s right up there with table tennis and squash as a great indoor sport.
Benefits of badminton
“Playing badminton increases the body’s metabolism, lowers bad cholesterol and boosts the immune system. Only 30 minutes of badminton play can extensively reduce the risk of coronary diseases and inhibit the development of hypertension later in life. Badminton is one of the best sports for people who want to exercise and relieve stress. If you keep yourself fit
“Playing badminton regularly increases the body’s metabolism and significantly lowers bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) and increases good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins). While you’re running, lunging, diving and hitting, you’re buring around 450 calories per hour. This kind of cardiovascular workout can help keep you in tip-top shape, and control your weight. Also, as we age, mobility becomes limited, but staying active can help prevent these problems. Keeping mobile lubricates your joints, and preventing arthritis and similar conditions from developing.
“Badminton also helps you build strong bonds, you connect with and develop deep respect and friendships with fellow players and teammates. Also, working together as a team helps you develop respect for teamwork and for each individual who works to form a cohesive unit.”
Life lessons learnt
“Apart from the physical benefits, badminton has also taught me a few life lessons. Preparation is important on the court as well as at work. Lack of preparation, both mentally and physically, can really hurt your chances of winning. Also, you have to analyse your opponent before you even make your first move. Find out their strengths and weaknesses, favourite plays, etc. Once you’ve understood that you will play a better game. This kind of awareness also enhances self-improvement and eventually leads to success.”