Dubai 30×30: Time to break records – and stereotypes
It’s back. The annual Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), the initiative that aims to transform the emirate into the world’s most active city, is back this year with the proverbial ‘bigger and better’ rallying cry. Make that ‘fitter and tougher,’ actually. Now in its third iteration, the challenge was first thrown to Dubai residents in 2017 by none other than the very agile, extremely fit Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He has thrown that challenge at not just Dubai but all UAE residents every year since, making us more active and focused on our physical and psychological wellbeing.
It’s the perfect recipe for happier living, and the deal is simple – the initiative challenges everyone in the city to complete 30 minutes of physical activity a day for 30 days. In keeping with all things Dubai, though, the initiative comes embellished with a packed month-long calendar of fitness activities and a healthy dose of entertainment events (also fitness-focused). Between October 18 and November 16 this year, expect a festive atmosphere in the city with weekend carnivals, fitness villages, and community-led events focused on getting you up and about on your feet. Last year, more than a million individuals participated in the DFC – this year, the target is to surpass that milestone by a substantial margin.
With almost 70 per cent of under-30 Emirati males categorised as overweight, the UAE is, unfortunately, stigmatised as a country with an unhealthy lifestyle. But the signs are encouraging – the five-year National Health Survey, whose results were announced earlier this year and are endorsed by the World Health Organization, reveals a decline in diabetes, obesity and smoking rates among Emiratis and expat residents. The battle against obesity and other lifestyle diseases is an ongoing movement, with the annual DFC now emerging as a major driver of this campaign. Overlooking the boundaries, let’s all join this extraordinarily inclusive and noble initiative of Sheikh Hamdan. It’s time to break records – and the stereotype of us leading an unhealthy, lazy, undisciplined life. We’re ready to accept the challenge individually and collectively. Are you?