Sheikh Hamdan rides a road bike in Dubai. File
At a time when the coronavirus has virtually locked people up in homes, spiralling levels of inactivity in the process, fitness clamours for attention. With so many virtual meetings being conducted online, physical exercise has taken a backseat, which can put health in jeopardy in the long run.
It is against this backdrop that the Dubai Fitness Challenge, the annual celebration of health and fitness, re-emerges to send a message for all-round wellbeing.
Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a shining beacon of fitness. He is an avid sports enthusiast, and loves the outdoor adventures, whether it is skydiving, trekking in the mountains (as he did a few years ago through the Yosemite Park in the United States, where he encountered wild animals) and even braving endurance-style obstacle courses.
It is therefore apt that he remains an ideal model for Dubai, which has made sport a part of its way of life. This ensures a healthy society and a healthy society is a productive society. Over 20,000 cyclists joined Sheikh Hamdan in the Dubai Fitness Challenge on Friday, as they rode through Dubai’s iconic Sheikh Zayed Road, which was, for the first time, converted into a 14-km cycling track.
Hundreds of cyclists, kitted out with all kinds of gear, made history with a unique cycling experience along the magnificent road.
They hit the roads as early as 5am, embarking on two breathtaking routes in the heart of the city – the one on Sheikh Zayed Road and the other around Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.
Truly, Sheikh Hamdan has fired the fitness zeal among thousands of residents in Dubai.
The Dubai Fitness Challenge, which ends on November 28, features virtual and physical events for all residents to commit to an active lifestyle.
The calendar of exciting fitness and wellness events exemplifies Dubai government’s safety-first approach, with the highest standards of safety precautions and social distancing in place.
Perhaps no other event galvanises thousands of expatriates as this one does.
The Crown Prince expressed his happiness at the exceptional response from the community to the event, saying the high participation reflects growing awareness about the importance of fitness and the benefits of integrating sporting activities into one’s lifestyle. Sheikh Hamdan encouraged the community to explore simple ways to incorporate fitness activities into their daily routines, so that we can enhance our health, wellbeing and happiness.
Cycling enthusiasts were excited to ride the 14km Sheikh Zayed Road route with both directions of the highway opened exclusively for cyclists. International athletes, and the city’s leading cycling clubs and communities, joined the riders for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of cycling around Dubai’s iconic landmarks including Emirates Towers, The Museum of the Future, and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Families and children as young as five joined enjoyed the 4km bike ride around Souk Al Bahar, Dubai Opera, The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. Even people of determination joined the cycling tour around Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.
Government organisations too, as well as schools and educational institutions joined participants in a socially distanced setting, a testament to Dubai’s commitment to creating a safe environment for people to be physically active.
In August, Sheikh Hamdan directed to transform Dubai into a bike-friendly city.
In a country where the comfort levels are extremely high, where creature comforts can really spoil the resident no end, fitness is the need of the hour.
The perfect way to achieve and maintain a healthy living is through exercise. It helps heal injuries and prevent diseases. The extent of exercise you have is actually one of the key bases on how healthy your life is.