More than 40 per cent of Abu Dhabi residents do not engage in any form of physical activity or exercise throughout the year, a survey by the Department of Community Development (DCD) has found.
To change this trend, the authority last week launched a new campaign to encourage more active lifestyles: Get Fit Abu Dhabi.
“We want to encourage more than 20 per cent of residents in the emirate to live fully active lifestyles by 2021. This campaign is a step in that direction,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, head of community engagement and sport at the DCD.
The first initiative under the campaign, Shop Fit Abu Dhabi, kicked off last Sunday. It is geared towards getting people to pursue health and fitness activitie in malls and shopping centres, and there are now scheduled yoga, zumba and training classes, as wel as fitness competitions, being organise across 10 participating malls until the end of November.
The mall-based Fit Zones, which include exercise and fitness equipment, are also popular among residents, especially since these are free to use.
A second leg of the campaign focuses on making senior residents - those aged 60 yearsand older - more active. The Active Seniors programmme will be launched by the end of November, with fitness-related workshops and classes at nine centres run by the Family Development Foundation.
“The programme is open to expatriates as well as Emiratis. We want to make fitness fun and exciting for our senior residents. So when a community member shows up, we’ll run a preliminary assessment to determine their level of fitness and any injuries or chronic illnesses, then guide them towards activities and sessions best suited to their abilities,” said Naeema Al Mazrouei, director of the family programmes division at the Foundation.
A third programme, Active Pioneers, encourages activity among public sector employees.
The campaign is being run in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Family Development Foundation and the Department of Health (DoH). The DoH announced last week that 17.6 per cent of adults in Abu Dhabi is diabetic, and urged residents to pursue more physical activity to maintain their health.
“These are all pilot programmes in the Get Fit Abu Dhabi initiative. We plan to study their impact after they conclude, and if they prove effective in driving people towards more active lifestyles, we will roll out bigger programmes,” Al Dhaheri assured.
Get Fit Abu Dhabi
10 participating malls
Abu Dhabi city: Al Wahda Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, Dalma Mall, Galleria Al Maryah Island, Yas Mall, The Mall World Trade Centre, and Mushrif Mall
Al Ain: Al Ain Mall, Al Jimi Mall, Bawadi Mall
9 centres run by the Family Development Foundation
Abu Dhabi city: Abu Dhabi centre, Abu Dhabi Gate Centre, Wathba centre
Al Ain: Al Ain centre, Rumah centre, Al Hiyar centre
Al Dhafra: Madinat Zayed centre, Al Sila centre, Al Muraf centre