Dubai: Fitness is in fashion with more Emirati women as perceptions change and lines blur between exercise and leisure, a UAE national who runs a gym said.
Amal Khammas, who is in charge of the ladies division of Gold’s Gym UAE, said Emirati women are an increasing clientele -- in some branches, they comprise 99 per cent of the membership.
“[Fitness] was a tough concept at first. Now they know the latest sports fashion, and have the latest equipment,” she said.
Many of them train with female family members or friends, socialising while sweating it out.
Amal said Emiratis like to have personal lady trainers, for one-on-one classes. Group dance classes, at times led by an Emirati woman, are also popular.
And they are not too meek for military-style boot camp exercise drills either, Amal said.
“We have all age groups, from teens to women in their 60s. You can see mothers and daughters training together.”
Amal said growing awareness about health issues, especially obesity in the Emirati community, gradually led to more Emiratis taking up fitness.
“I think a few years ago they realised they had to change their lifestyle. They didn’t have the facilities for women before. Now it’s easy,” she added.
“I’ve seen many cases of women losing a lot of weight. They come in every day, they’re committed to do it. There is one lady whose waist shrunk from 95cm to 64cm in three months.”
There is also more variety in what is on offer: outdoor exercises on women-only beaches and parks, yoga, and swimming.
Ladies fitness clubs too are changing. Gold’s Gym, for one, has spas, slimming massages, facials, in-house cafes, aromatherapy and other add-ons.
“They don’t need to go out, everything’s in one place,” Amal said.
She also likes to practise what she preaches.
“I’m a sporty girl. I like to do all kinds of activities, like horse riding, climbing, and training in gym. I pass it on to my children as well. We go as a family to fitness events, it’s fun.”