Dubai Fitness Challenge: Why we need to respect our bodies

Dubai - This wonderful human system is the home we will be living in till the end

By Malavika Varadan

Published: Thu 26 Nov 2020, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 6:29 AM

This week marks the end of an incredible month of fitness for Dubai. For 30 days, the city has taken 30 minutes out of its day to move more.

My personal journey with fitness has been a rollercoaster. If you’d asked me in my early 20s what my goal was, I’d have told you that I wanted to look like a Hollywood star. I tried some pretty strange stuff to get there too. It took a while for me to realise I was a Tamilian girl, with a love for rice, and no matter what I gave up or how hard I prayed, I would never look like Anne Hathaway in a catsuit.

The next phase was one of extremes. Run a marathon, climb a mountain, burn more than I ate. It was a battle. My body versus me, and I would win. Yoga entered my life at 30 and brought with it an unusual quiet. I finally found alignment, both internal and external, an axis within me.

Ten years on from my first gym membership, my relationship with fitness is a seasoned one. Hard as it is, I try to shake off the idea that fitness is about aesthetics. Advertisements with six pack abs, protein shakes, and zero body fat follow me around on my social media feed like pushy sales people, trying to lure me in. No, thank you, I say, and walk right past.

I have no interest in looking like Anne Hathaway anymore. I would like instead to eat like my grandmother did, relishing every morsel of her homemade meals, sucking every last drop of juice out of the mangoes in summer. I want to be fit enough to go through my day without feeling exhausted, to have enough energy to climb to a place with a nice view, but the silence within me to stop and take in the scenery.

As glamorous as it is to say “Push harder, dig deeper”, I would say that 30x30 (and any healthy relationship with health) is based on the same things — consistency and respect.

Much like a healthy marriage, you need to show up for your body, as your body shows up for you. And respect it enough to look in the mirror and not see a paunch or thick thighs, but wonderful mechanisms and systems that hold you up. Take a minute to think about this. We spend so much time decorating and cleaning up our homes. This wonderful human body is the home we will be living in till the day we die. It is the single system whose parts may break and malfunction — but will stay with us until the end. That has been my takeaway from 30x30. Treat your body as you would the single most important relationship of your life, because it is. -

Malavika Varadan, Managing Director, The Hive

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