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A series of free and paid events were held across Dubai to encourage people to get moving. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The month-long Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), which ended on Saturday with more than a million participants over 30 days, has inspired more than 1 million people to change their lifestyle.

Participants at the DFC Closing Weekend Challenge at Burj Park told Gulf News on Saturday they became more active during the challenge and will continue to exercise even beyond the period.

On Saturday, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, thanked the challenge participants. "Thanks to all our people, schools, government, corporates, and the entire community. Proud of #Dubai30x30 @DXBFitChallenge."

The DFC is now on its second year. The fitness program seeks to motivate UAE residents to take up physical activity and put the emirate on the global map as the most active city. It was first unveiled in 2017 by Shaikh Hamdan.

This year, the challenge ran from October 26 to November 24, and invited people to commit to at least 30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days. A series of free and paid events were held across Dubai to encourage people to get moving.

Addicted to exercise

Kenyan expat Faith Mumbua said because of DFC exercising has become “like an addiction now” for her.

“I can’t go a day without exercising, DFC has made me so self-disciplined. I’m up at 4am for my daily jog. I’ve joined a gym ... and later in the day I do my cardio, weights and yoga. I challenge myself to exercise for three hours on the weekends. I wanted to feel and look fit and DFC inspired me to accomplish that. I’m sad DFC is over but the journey doesn’t end there,” said Mumbua, 43, who works as a facility coordinator in Dubai.

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Faith Mumbua (L) and Karol Nowicki (R) Image Credit: Supplied

Seeing his health gains during DFC, Ugandan expat Devid Muganga, 22, wants to become a bodybuilder and fitness coach.

“During DFC I increased my workout sessions at home. Even at work, we did an hour of fitness every day. I want to add to my gains after DFC,” said Muganga, who works in Dubai Mall.

For 30-year-old Polish expat Karol Nowicki, it was the variety of DFC activities that kept him going. “There were some exercise events near my building and I went there every day or every other day to try something new. I think once people see others doing it, they are not that shy to exercise — that’s what DFC did for them. It made exercising accessible. I’ll be going regularly to a gym now,” said Nowicki, who works for a bank in Dubai.

Clearing misconceptions

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ubai Fitness Challenge Ambassador Manal Rustom, a personal trainer and Nike Coach, shared exercise tips participants of the month-long initiative. Image Credit: Supplied

Egyptian personal trainer Manal Rostom, 39, who is also a Nike Coach, was chosen as one of the DFC Ambassadors. She spent DFC sharing daily fitness tips with people on the ground as well as on her Instagram account @manirostom, followed by over 53,200 people.

“It was a great honour for me to be a DFC Ambassador. I’m going to continue to answer people’s questions and clear misconceptions. It’s good to sign up to fitness but people should know too much of anything isn’t good. Listen to your body and take some rest as well. It’s important to stay consistent,” said Rostom.

Successful closing

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Activities during the Dubai Fitness Challenge closing week end taking place at the Burj Park, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

The Closing Carnival of DFC, presented by Emirates NBD in association with Emaar on Friday and Saturday, marked the end of another successful DFC. Burj Park in Downtown Dubai was packed with free fitness classes and family fun events throughout the two days.

This year, Dubai continued its mission to be the most active city in the world, exceeding the DFC goal of over one million participants taking part in the initiative.

The first edition of DFC was launched in October 2017 as a community health and fitness initiative of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.