Dubai: Emirati women are not exercising enough.
This was the message during the roll out Monday of the fourth edition of Dubai Pulse by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the government authority dedicated to developing and improving sports in Dubai.
The 2012-13 edition will focus on fitness for women, and push for an overall increase in the level of physical activity in Dubai from 34 per cent for the past two years to 38 per cent by 2013.
Women, especially Emiratis, tend to relegate exercise on the back burner, devoting their time towards familial responsibilities. Dubai Pulse aims to rectify this lopsided ratio.
The annual programme will be held in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), health care providers and private fitness centres which will host seven major fitness events dedicated to health issues like diabetes and promote activities like swimming, cycling and walking until April 2013.
In addition, small scale events will be organised in schools, cycling tracks, parks and beaches.
Speaking to Gulf News on fitness for women, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, director of culture and social activities affairs, DSC, said that Emirati women need to know that there are activities tailored for them.
“Along with providing opportunities to all members of the community through Dubai Pulse, we have specific events for women who might be hesitant to attend mixed gender events.
“These will encourage women who are shy and/or those looking to be fit, but did not have the opportunity. We also have programmes for pregnant women in association with different fitness centres,“ he said.
In general, the last three editions have shed light on the fact that community members prefer public events (mostly free), and are inclined towards fitness when there are several options to choose from, he added.
To explain the reasons for the lopsided ratio, Hamza Abbas, director of Administrative Affairs Department at the DHA, told Gulf News that Emirati women consider everyday activities like school runs, homework, cooking, and keeping a home as a form of physical activity.
“Many working Emirati mothers do not make time to exercise even if they have a home gym. Women, like men, need to address health issues including diabetes and cholesterol. We need to influence a change in their attitude towards fitness,” he said.
Lourence Arca-Bathe, director of Urban Energy Fitness, that specialises in women’s fitness and has partnered with Dubai Pulse, told Gulf News, that Emirati women are more comfortable in a one-on-one environment and personal training sessions in their homes.
“If we made available more ladies-only clubs, facilities and events, for women, including Emiratis, there will be a higher participation. Also for pregnant women, obstetricians should be trained to promote exercise during pregnancy,” she said.