Yas Marina Circuit is the place to be for fitness enthusiasts

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Yas Marina Circuit is the place to be for fitness enthusiasts

Abu Dhabi - Working out is now a joyful activity for Abu Dhabi residents with a free cycling and training ground around the Formula One track

By Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Fri 3 Mar 2017, 5:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Mar 2017, 7:13 PM

Cyclists, runners, walkers or those simply wanting to spend a more sporty evening with family are all taking part in the three-day weekly training programme at Yas Marina Circuit.
The TrainYas by Daman’s ActiveLife started as a simple leisure fitness programme six years ago with a few dozen sports enthusiasts, but the racing track has now turned into a massive training ground where thousands of people gather to pedal and run to keep in shape and maintain good health.
“We started in 2010 with 50 people and now we receive an average of 2,500 people every day of training,” said Kahn Luthiger, Public Events and Marketing Manager at Yas Marina Circuit.
“There has been great improvement in people’s love for sport and exercise over recent years and this is really good for the mind and body.”
StartYas, TrainYas, GoYas
Luthiger explains that they have three weekly programmes including the StartYas on Sunday which was introduced in 2015 with 800 people but currently brings in about 2,500 people coming to ride bikes, walking, running and doing other fitness exercises.
The TrainYas, their first training programme, runs on Tuesdays and now attracts about 4,000 people weekly including adults and children, he said. The GoYas is a popular ladies-only programme that runs every Wednesday and has grown from 200 trainees in 2013 to about 2,500 this year. The training timings are from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday and Tuesday, and from 6pm to 9pm on Wednesday.
Professional cyclists as well as casual riders, women and kids come to pedal around the racing track for fitness training. A lap of the circuit is 5.5km and you can rent a bike and helmet from Fun Ride Sports for Dh30 to Dh50 or borrow one for free from the Cleveland Clinic.
BYOB: bring your own bike. Or not
There are about 400 free bikes for those wanting to ride or you could bring your own.
“I come along with my bike every Tuesday. This is really a fantastic facility for training and besides, it’s free of charge,” said Ewen Melling, senior manager at ADIA. The 56-year-old Scottish national says he drives from Saadiyat Island weekly for TrainYas because cycling is his hobby and he loves sports.
“Cycling gives you more energy, controls body weight and doing it in such a place… you get a chance of meeting many people,” he said.
British teacher, 33-year-old Laura Copley also fancies training so she can keep in good shape. She says she has been going to Yas Marina circuit weekly for running and cycling for the past two years. After giving birth to her now six-month-old boy, she’s intensified her training a few months ago to help shed the pregnancy and maternity weight.
“I had put on a lot of weight during pregnancy and after delivering. So I’m here to get it off,” said Copley.
“I always run or cycle the 5.5km track. This is a nice place for training, I like the atmosphere here.”
Emirati, Mohammed Saaed, says he drives from Al Reef to Yas Island every Sunday and Tuesday along with his two children for cycling. “I mind my weight and my children’s too. I don’t want them to become obese as it increases the chances of getting heart disease and other diseases when they grow up,” he said.
Indian national Nicole Rudal, 35, said: “I love training because it keeps me fit and healthy. Besides being free, there is a good atmosphere here. It’s great that we were given the opportunity to train on the F1 track.”
Luthiger, who is also in charge of community affairs at Yas Marina Circuit said the Yas training programmes were introduced to the Formula One track to provide an opportunity for Abu Dhabi people with a great and secure area for free training.
“The main purpose of these training programmes is to promote people’s health through exercise and training,” said Luthiger.
“Cycling provides one of the best ways to stay fit, fast and lean. The benefits include increased aerobic and anaerobic fitness and reduced fat levels off areas such as thighs, hips, tummies and bottoms.”
He noted that it is great that their training programmes have attracted so many people. About 750,000 have benefited from the free training programme since it’s inception in 2010.
Free membership
People have to register online through the Yas Marina Circuit website and get a free permanent membership card which has to be presented on entry.
The Yas Marina Circuit Training programmes are sponsored by Daman Active Life, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Health Authority Abu Dhabi and Fatimah Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy.
Ismail is an experienced journalist and father of two girls, Haulah and Faswilah. Outside work, you can find him in a public park playing with his kids or jogging.

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