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KT edit: Dubai minds residents’ fitness, too

Filed on September 8, 2021
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A 2018 survey by the World Health Organization placed the UAE alongside the US and the UK for having some of the most inactive populations in the world.


It is not news that we are becoming more sedentary as a species. The convenience of technology has lessened the demands of labour but in parallel it has created a flurry of challenges for the human body. The inverse relation between the per capita wealth of a nation and the overall health of its population has become stark as populations in a number of wealthy countries are suffering with poor health.

A 2018 survey by the World Health Organization placed the UAE alongside the US and the UK for having some of the most inactive populations in the world. In the UAE, almost half of women and more than 40 per cent of men were not getting enough exercise, the survey stated. While the data is from three years ago, we as a country haven’t emerged among the fittest nations as yet. Sedentary lifestyle continues to be among the most chronic lifestyle issues for most people in the UAE. Our relationship with exercise and physical activity is complicated, to say the least, and often blamed on hot weather for almost half of the year. But while we are increasingly adopting new technologies to save time, we are not consciously thinking on how to burn the calories that are being saved too.

The collective health of a country is the sum total of the individual efforts of its population. The Dubai 30*30 fitness challenge, which started in 2017, has been a good policymaking effort at influencing individual habits and getting people to move. It has had its fair share of success in nudging people to mine their trainers from under the beds and dig up gym kits from the corners of their wardrobe. Corporates, societies, communities, and people in general have supported this campaign for the wellbeing of all. Now as the campaign enters its fifth edition, the excitement is again building up. Some of the events will happen even at Expo2020, perhaps in an effort to showcase the world that Dubai is not just interested in building a world-class infrastructure for various sports, it also has an equal interest and inclination in getting people to use it well.

The campaign to get people fitter is a mission to build activity into our everyday lives and not just leave it for the gym or select days of the week. Thirty minutes of exercise for thirty days is good enough to kickstart a drive to do things differently and become regular exercisers. And if some of us are still looking for the reasons to become more active, looking at medical studies and reports would help.

Regular exercise can assist in the prevention of strokes, depression, heart disease, dementia, and even some cancers by reducing risk significantly. Sedentariness is bad for our body. As Dubai gears up to get more active, make space in your calendar from October 29 to November 27 and enroll in activities of your choosing. Some exercise is always going to be better than none. This campaign is an effort to interlink physical activity into our lives. Let’s make it work.





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