In a bid to become the world’s most active city, Dubai recently launched a 30×30 Fitness Challenge, an initiative to encourage residents to participate in a month-long free workout classes and activities. This first of its kind move laid the foundation of a bright tomorrow for the city of dreams, observes Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN).
The initiative came into being at the outset of this October when Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced Dubai Fitness Challenge — an initiative aimed at developing Dubai as the world’s most active city.
The challenge commenced with a carnival on October 20 in Dubai’s Safa Park and people from all age groups the age groups and fitness levels were encouraged to participate in it.
The Dubai Fitness Challenge at a Glance
Cycle for a while. Exercise with colleagues before starting the day at work. Swim with your friends. Take a jog with your family before the supper. Through Dubai Fitness Challenge, residents were urged to commit to at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity for 30 days (20 October to 18 November).
The challenge was not just limited to government bodies. In fact, residents were encouraged for participation as an individual or as any organisation’s employee.
It was attempted to make the challenge a fun-filled activity for all age groups. The programme includes several fitness- oriented games organised across the city, an easy-to-use training and assessment app and exciting prizes for the participants.
The opening event of the fitness programme started from Safa Park, Dubai on October 20 and continued till October 21. The grand finale was scheduled to commence on November 17 and 18 at Festival City Promenade, Dubai.
30×30 Dubai Fitness Challenge
- The challenge included all forms of physical fitness activities such as walking, team sports, intense fitness regimes, paddle-boarding and aerobics to football, yoga, cycling among others.
- The challenge enabled the residents to experience a wide range of sports and exercise programmes that will be showcased across the city that they may not have tried before.
- Several celebrity guests, motivational experts and fitness professionals made motivational appearances at various locations across the city.
- The challenge included free exercise classes and dedicated community activities for each of Dubai’s neighbourhoods.
- In one of the promotional video, Dubai’s first Emirati female parkour instructor Amal Murad was seen advising the residents through videos, shedding light on her training regime, which combines running, jumping and vaulting.
- The event also featured a number of existing partner events including Dubai Colour Run, Dubai Mass Swim and Dubai Schools Fitness Games among others.
Fitness — the Need of the Hour:
- A 2016 survey of 3,298 families, comprising over 13,000 individuals, conducted by Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Statistics Centre detected an alarming trend of non-communicable diseases among the Emiratis and expatriates. Nearly 36 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women were found to be overweight, 11.9 per cent were morbidly obese and nearly 36.1 per cent had borderline obesity.
About 19.6 per cent of the Emirati men and 18.5 per cent of the Emirati women had hypertension problem.
- A recent Global Disease Burden study conducted by the Washington University indicated nearly 66 per cent of the men and 60 per cent of the women across all emirates, including Dubai, were obese.
- The International Diabetes Federation reported one in every five — or nearly 19.3 per cent — of the UAE population is diabetic. In addition, nearly 40 per cent of pre-diabetic. A large number were undiagnosed.
Achieving Fitness via The Year of Giving
Sheikh Hamdan gave a clarion call to all government organisations, public sector and educational institutions to be drivers of change in ensuring the city’s fitness quotient improves. He wished all authorities to take a lead in spearheading the fitness movement. The private sector was urged to be equal contributor in this “The Year of Giving” by encouraging their employees to take out time and participate in simple physical exercises.
Sheikh Hamdan directed all government organisations, public sector and educational institutions to be the drivers of change in ensuring the fitness quotient of the city. He directed all the authorities to take a lead in spearheading the fitness movement and urged the private sector to be equal contributors in this “The Year of Giving” by supporting their employees to take out time and participate in simple physical activities.)
In December 2016, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2017 as “The Year of Giving” which would have three key pillars namely Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Volunteering, and Serving the nation.
This concept has been inspired by the UAE’s tradition of valuing hospitality and generosity, based on the country’s founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s philosophy.
Following the concept “The Year of Giving” and realising the need to develop a fit and active city, Dubai Fitness Challenge was launched this year.
Speaking about the significance of fitness, Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai, said, “With the launch of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, we aim to become the most active city in the world, motivating everyone across all ages, and fitness levels, to start with small steps that will benefit them and their families.
“With just 30 minutes of physical activity each day for 30 days, we are confident the city will begin to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle as a choice for life.”
“We want everyone to join this inclusive initiative, from those who have never exercised to those that are fitness enthusiasts, from the young to the old and the people of determination, and the entire community including schools, businesses and government organisations across Dubai,” he added.
Acknowledging the need to inculcate positive activities for a healthy living, Al Marri said the less active should challenge themselves to set higher goals and those already committed ones should be the motivators for the wider community.
“With a packed calendar of fitness events and healthy activities across the month, residents should view this as a fun and interactive way to spend quality time with friends and family for the collective benefit of all, he said. “In this Year of Giving, Dubai Fitness Challenge is an opportunity to give not just to ourselves but also to others, and we are confident that the people of Dubai will get behind this movement wholeheartedly.”
Special Attractions of the Programme
Tech support for the Fitness Freak
Fitness enthusiasts can track performance of their physical activities undertaken during the programme through Dubai Fitness Challenge app. Residents can access over 1,500 free classes at 88 partner fitness and sports facilities, 75 pop-up fitness locations for easy and convenient workouts, 16 partner sporting events, five weekend family fun carnivals and a whole range of sports and fitness activities and avail attractive discounts.
KHDA — Ensuring Dubai’s Pledge for Fitness
Taking the endeavour to ensure fitness across the education landscape of Dubai, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) launched the Dubai Fitness Challenge. It was kicked off along with 70 team members by participating in the Desert Warriors Challenge on October 20, 2017.
The team-KHDA Gladiators completed a challenge by running 500 km by battling through 1,160 obstacles.
Supporting the initiative, Dubai schools are also ensuring their maximum participation in the Dubai Fitness Challenge.
Every private school in Dubai has officially registered their presence for the challenge. Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Board of Directors and Director General of the KHDA visits schools and universities every weekday to motivate for the concept of fitness.
KHDA has accepted the challenge citing three ways of the 900 ideas for becoming fit together. KHDA has announced ,“Chairs will be taken out of the classrooms, exercise classes will be held for parents, going for walks as a family.”
During his visit at GEMS Royal Dubai School pertaining to the ongoing fitness challenge, Dr Abdulla Al Karam said, “I’m very excited to be here. This is my first school visit – as a part of our programme ‘Fit Together’ where we plan to visit schools every day, engage with children in fun activities and get them moving. Today, I had a lot of fun with the kids who promised me that they will challenge their parents and families to stay fit.”
Developing fitness holds a vital role in building a health society. Educational institutions can be the best agencies for spreading the message of fitness and its significance among the budding minds.
Explaining about the variety of initiatives taken for ensuring a healthy and happy environment for students, Kalthoom AlBalooshi, Executive Director of Education Development, KHDA, Dubai, during the recent 8th Knowledge Exchange Summit Goa, India, said, “Lately, the Prime Minister of UAE has announced changes in the ministries, appointed young new ministers and started new ministries on Artificial Intelligence and Science and Research.”
“A minister for happiness has also been appointed keeping the significance of knowledge and happiness in offering holistic development to a student in mind. With that we have a new initiative called ‘30X30’ in which residents of Dubai are involvement in at least 30 minutes of physical activity throughout 30 days of the month.”