Dubai Fitness Challenge ends, but for many residents, it has become a lifestyle, a routine toward well-being

All around town, the DFC villages were packed with enthusiasts working out to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of activity every day



Photo: @DXBFitChallenge, IG @leemryan
Photo: @DXBFitChallenge, IG @leemryan

By Lamya Tawfik

Published: Sun 27 Nov 2022, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 8:51 AM

For the last 30 days, Dubai residents got on to the fitness bandwagon accepting the challenge to stay healthy and active throughout the month of November. All around the town, the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) villages were packed with enthusiasts working out to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Yesterday, the DFC ended, but fitness has become a lifestyle for those who took part.

Julia dos Santos, Brazilian-Swiss, said this was her second year being part of the annual fitness drive in the emirate and that she takes DFC very seriously. “We all compete at work. This year, I realised that I’ve learnt an important lesson – if you really put your mind to it, you can find the time to do what is important to you,” she said adding that by structuring her day she found the time to do other things that are important too, like reading.

She admits to missing only one day this year but said that she would go out of her way to get in the 30 minutes most days. All year round, Julia does aerial sports, but even an hour of that only counts for a minute on her fitness device. “We all use these devices in the office, so I had to add more like swimming or cycling – which she sometimes used as a mode of transportation,” she said.

As she prepares to go on leave, Julia said she plans to continue her fitness routine. “If I stop, it’ll be really hard for me to go back – trust me, I know,” she said.

Julia dos Santos
Julia dos Santos

For Carmen Rotilio, Italian, the Dubai Fitness Challenge is an excellent way for everyone to learn that they need to make a little effort to contribute towards their well-being. “Dubai is a city that offers so many opportunities for fitness. There are cycling and jogging tracks everywhere, gyms in most buildings, parks, bikes that you can rent and now, with the great weather, there really isn’t any excuse not to move,” she said.

Carmen took part in the Sky Run vertical marathon and said she loved the vibes and seeing everyone from all nationalities and capacities wanting to participate together.

Carmen Rotilio
Carmen Rotilio

Jelena Djukic, Serbia, said working out is her lifestyle as she regularly trains and does cross fit. She took part in the Dubai Run and said that the experience was remarkable. “It was very unusual and unique to see so many people running together on Sheikh Zayed Road,” she said.

She said that the beauty of the challenge is that while for some people fitness is part of their daily routine, others need encouragement which is exactly what DFC does. “Health is a priority and with a little bit of encouragement, people can explore different sports in different areas of the city,” she said, adding that it would be great to have it more than once a year – either repeated once more before the summer or organising an indoor-version during the summer months for people who are staying in the city.

Jelena Djukic
Jelena Djukic

While some people enjoy exercising by themselves, Zumba instructor, Khushii Bhaggnari from India said that this could also be a great opportunity for families to work out together. “Kids are always on their devices. Even when they’re in the mall, they look for WiFi to connect their devices. So, we all took the opportunity during the DFC to find try different activities,” she said, adding that over the last four years, they got the opportunity to try activities such as kayaking and a free fall activity last year.

Khushii Bhaggnari
Khushii Bhaggnari

During DFC she not only took part with her family but also encouraged some of her students who attend her Zumba classes to take part in the Dubai Run. “Encouraging people for their own betterment is a great thing, it’s something that money can’t buy,” she said.

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One of the great advantages of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, she said, is that it encourages people to change their lifestyle slowly. “You have a whole month to do that. You also see people around you doing the same and you are encouraged,” she said.

Following the Dubai Fitness Challenge, Khushii said that she expects that many people will continue working out. “When you taste success you can’t turn back,” she said.


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