Around the city, DFC villages were full of enthusiasts striving to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of activity each day.
Photo: @DXBFitChallenge, IG @leemryan
Over the past 30 days, Dubai residents jumped on the fitness bandwagon by taking on the challenge to stay healthy and active throughout the month of November. Around the city, Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) villages were packed with enthusiasts training to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of activity each day. DFC ended yesterday, but fitness has become a lifestyle for those who participated.
Brazilian-Swiss Julia dos Santos said this was her second year taking part in the annual fitness campaign in the emirate and she takes DFC very seriously. “We all compete at work. This year, I realized that I learned an important lesson: if you really put your mind to it, you can find the time to do what’s important to you,” he said, adding that by structuring his day he found the time to do other things that are important too, like reading.
He admits he’s only missed one day this year, but said he’d do his best to get in the 30 minutes most days. Throughout the year, Julia does aerial sports, but even an hour only counts as a minute on her fitness device. “We all use these devices in the office, so I had to add more like swimming or cycling, which I sometimes used as a means of transport,” he said.
As she prepares to leave, Julia said she plans to continue her fitness routine. “If I stop, it will be very difficult for me to go back – trust me, I know that,” he said.
Julia dos Santos
For Italian Carmen Rotilio, the Dubai Fitness Challenge is a great way for everyone to learn that putting in a little effort can contribute to their well-being. “Dubai is a city that offers so many opportunities for fitness. There are cycling and running tracks everywhere, gyms in most buildings, parks, bikes you can rent and now with the good weather there’s really no excuse not to get moving,” he said.
Carmen took part in the Sky Run vertical marathon and said she loved the vibes and seeing everyone of all nationalities and abilities wanting to take part together.
Jelena Djukic, Serbia, said that working out is her lifestyle as she works out regularly and does crossfit. He took part in the Dubai Run and said the experience was remarkable. “It was very unusual and unique to see so many people running together on Sheikh Zayed Road,” he said.
She said the beauty of the challenge is that while for some people fitness is part of their daily routine, others need encouragement, which is exactly what DFC does. “Health is a priority and with a little encouragement, people can explore different sports in different areas of the city,” he said, adding that it would be great to have it more than once a year, or repeat it once more before the summer or organize an indoor version during the summer months for people staying in the city.
While some people enjoy working out on their own, Zumba instructor Khushii Bhaggnari from India said this could also be a great opportunity for families to work out together. “Kids are always on their devices. Even when they’re at the mall, they’re looking for WiFi to connect their devices. So we all took advantage during DFC to try different activities,” he said, adding that during the last four years, had the opportunity to try activities such as kayaking and a free fall activity last year.
During DFC she not only participated with her family but also encouraged some of her students who attend her Zumba classes to participate in the Dubai Run. “Encouraging people for their own betterment is a great thing, it’s something money can’t buy,” he said.
One of the big benefits of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, he said, is that it encourages people to change their lifestyle slowly. “You have a whole month to do it. You also see people around you doing the same and you get encouraged,” he said.
After the Dubai Fitness Challenge, Khushii said she hopes many people will continue to exercise. “When you taste success you can’t go back,” he said.