Muscat: “I have always been a gym rat. But of course, not any more. Now my routine is changed to include a run by the lovely lawn outside my building. I found it odd initially to run outside, but it is completely fine now. I run with my friend and even the mask don’t deter us anymore now,” said Shahrzad Mirshekari, who has been residing in Oman for the last couple of years.
Among the many new normal etiquettes that have found their way silently into our lives, are outdoor workouts. Especially since gyms and health clubs have closed their doors for the time being.
Oman’s capital city, Muscat, has in every residential pocket, walking or jogging tracks shaded by trees, apart from the sprawling residential parks, that too have walking tracks. Additionally, there are numerous beaches dotting the landscape and some localities even have gym equipment set in the well-manicured lawns, which are free for use.
Sharhzad lives in Azaiba, which boasts an immaculate walking and jogging track, adjacent to the main highway that sees a lot of regular users, in the early morning and evening hours. Stretching easily for a kilometre, this circuitous tree-lined path is also well-lit and can be approached from two entry points – which are the two service roads, running parallel to the main highway, across which the track is located.
While some of the youth did take some time to come to terms with outdoor workout, they have adapted to the new normal rather quickly. “I do miss the heavy workouts with weights that I used to practice in my gym, but this outdoor running has been really good and I am totally addicted to it. For weights training that I now do at home, I use heavy utensils, or my younger siblings.” said Khalid Wali Mohammed Haibatan Al Balushi, a resident of Al Mawaleh.
A few of the die-hard fans of outside workouts welcome the new normal. Says Avaantica Ashok, who loves the outdoor vibes of Oman, noted: “Given the cleanliness and quietude of Muscat’s lanes, parks and beaches, it would be a luxury wasted, if you didn’t utilise it. I am not against gym membership, but when you get so much of healthy vibes around you for free, why go for it (gym)? I run at different times, and its super safe.”
“It is mandatory for anyone venturing outside to wear a mask and it is being adhered to by everyone. I have always been a proponent of outdoor walking as the best exercise for humans. I find it indeed heartening to see this number on the rise in recent times,” said Mohammed Saeed, a life coach and a resident of Oman.