Take a walk, says MoH in its move to boost health

SHARJAH -While the walkers got healthier on Thursday evening, the drivers along the Buheirah Corniche and all access roads leading into it were served with extra helpings of frayed nerves; but, it was all for a good cause.

By Hani M. Bathish

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Published: Sat 22 May 2004, 9:19 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:25 PM

The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) organised a one-hour walkathon on Thursday evening, from 7pm to 8pm, dubbed "Move for health". Sections of the corniche were closed for some time to allow the walkathon to proceed.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Medical District and Assistant Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Health, attended the event and stressed the importance of physical activity to remain fit and healthy. He said that this walkathon will become an annual event and hoped that next year more students and schools will take part.

Over one hundred people turned up for the walkathon which was led by the Sharjah Police Marching Band, and Dr. Ibrahim Jaber, the Director of the Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Preventive Medicine Department of the Sharjah Medical Districts, as well as representatives of the UAE Scouts Association. Token prizes were later distributed to the participants.

"I walk from my home up to the Marbella Club every evening. Ever since I came to the UAE I have been putting on a lot of weight and I am trying to get slimmer and healthier now. I think this walkathon is a great idea as it will encourage a lot of people to leave their car keys at home on Thursday night and use their feet for a change," said Adel G., a middle aged father of four, who finds the conveniences of modern life, like the automobile, the fastest route to a triple bypass.

Ameera B., a housewife with three children, was spending a relaxing time along the Buheirah Corniche with her family and decided to join in the walkathon: "In this modern, hectic life we lead it is so very difficult to get any exercise. I have a maid and so I do not need to do a lot of physical effort. When I take my kids out to the park its an opportunity for me as well to get some physical activity. I know it’s not healthy to live your life in front of the TV, but now the summer has arrived we will be doing more and more of that I am afraid. I think this walkathon is a good opportunity for the whole family to do some activity together."

Tareq Q. walks along the corniche everyday. Starting his day with a 45 minute walk at 5am before going off to work makes him feel healthy and energised for the whole day: "I think it is good that the MoH is taking care of people before they fall sick. I work in research and I have come across some frightening figures in the course of my job. I finally decided I do not want to end up just another statistic, especially since I am in my mid-30s now and I am putting on some weight. I want to stay fit and healthy to see my grandchildren."

The facts speak for themselves, chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity, are the direct result of inactivity and it is estimated that around a quarter of the UAE population suffer from diabetes or are fast on their way to becoming diabetic.

The conveniences of life help to make our jobs and chores easier, but these conveniences, like a car, a maid, a grocery store that delivers munchies to our door step, have resulted in large numbers of inactive individuals in our society that prefer to curl up in front of the television instead of going out for a jog.

Doctors advise that for those at high risk of cardiac problems, walking for 30 minutes a day is enough to reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Sometimes it is the simple changes to our lives that make the biggest difference. Do not smoke, or if you have started stop. Do not eat in front of the TV and find a sports activity you enjoy doing and can do regularly, above all keep moving.

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