How to join the 30-day Dubai Fitness Challenge

Dubai: It’s a fun community initiative for everyone, where every participant wins.

The Dubai 30-day Fitness Challenge isn’t just for health buffs, but it can also include the couch potato types who find all sorts of excuses to avoid sweating it out to improve their health.

How to join the challenge? We’ve broken it down for you, below.

What is it all about?

On October 2, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced the challenge aimed to make Dubai one of the world’s healthiest cities. Citizens, residents and visitors are encouaged to join the month-long challenge that includes free workout classes and activities.

When does it start?

The fitness challenge starts on October 20 and runs until November 18. It the emirate’s multi-activity, city-wide fitness movement. Those who join are urged to boost their physical activity by committing to a minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days through a wide range of fitness activities, sports or exercises.

Why should I join? 

It is an inclusive initiative — it’s for everyone. One key benefit is it will help tackle the twin health scourge of diabetes and obesity many modern cities, including Dubai, is facing. It is a great way to stay healthy and avoid a host of other non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.

How do I join?

Sign up by giving your details on this website. You may join as an individual or as a group, whether private and government organisation.

What’s in it for me?

Physical fitness cannot be off-shored or sub-contracted or delegated. The person who wants to be healthy must be willing and able to make the lifestyle change in order to stay fit. No pain, no gain.

What is the health trend in the city? 

Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Statistics Centre conducted a 2016 survey detected an alarming trend of non-communicable diseases detected. The survey covered 3,298 families consisting of more than 13,000 individuals (both Emirati and expatriate families included).

What about obesity?

The study indicated that nearly 36 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women were overweight, 11.9 per cent were morbidly obese and nearly 36.1 per cent had borderline obesity. About 19.6 per cent of Emirati men and 18.5 per cent of Emirati women suffered from hypertension. A recent Global Disease Burden study conducted by the Washington University indicated that nearly 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women across all emirates including Dubai were obese.

What’s the real score on diabetes?

For one, diabetes has become an huge publich health concern in the UAE. The good news, however, is that with lifestyle change, diabetes can now be reversed.

The International Diabetes Federation reported that one in every five — or nearly 19.3 per cent — of the UAE population is diabetic. In addition, nearly 40 per cent of pre-diabetic. A large number undiagnosed.

As Dubai Health Authority completes the three-phased Electronic Medical Records System, the public will be privy to a more comprehensive record of their health parameters.

What do experts say about the 30-day challenge?

Dr Hamed Farooqui, consultant endocrinologist and director of the Dubai Diabetes Centre, lauded the 30-day fitness challenge announced by the Crown Prince. “It is a brilliant initiative. We are in the midst of a diabetes and obesity epidemic. Both of these conditions are interlinked as those who are diabetic usually begin with insulin resistance and obesity.”

“The key issue in managing these two diseases is changing one’s lifestyle and although it might sound easy to say all it needs is a balanced diet and exercise, any fundamental change to lifestyle is an uphill task that requires tremendous willpower and support from community.

“This initiative is providing psychological, social and even financial support (by providing free fitness workouts). It is like setting a huge ball rolling and once the health initiative is flagged off, it will gather momentum. People may be able to work wonders with their health with such tremendous support from government.”

Why 30 days?

“For any habit or mindset to change, it requires an intervention of minimum 20 days,” said Dr Wafa Ayesh, director of Clinical Nutrition at Dubai Healthcare Authority.

The idea is that if you do a set of physical fitness activity for 30 days, it becomes a habit. Physical fitness becomes a part of you.

“Even taste buds take time to adjust to a new diet” said Dr Ayesh. “So this challenge is giving the people of Dubai a unique opportunity to collectively participate in a health initiative with all support from the government. It can help reset people’s health resolutions and put them on a fast track to adopting a balanced and healthy lifestyle that will be a key to combating all non-communicable diseases.”