No excuses not to keep fit

People make excuses that there no facilities in the UAE for them to help keep fit because they have got themselves into a rut, says a fitness expert.

“It’s hot for 2 to 3 months in a year, after that it’s perfect,” said Guillaume Mariole, managing director of Ignite, a wellness and fitness group, in response to the common complaint that the weather is too extreme.“

One way of doing that is by ‘interval training’; you go walking or riding a bike at a certain rate, then faster, and then slow down. That raises the 
heart rate and 
helps with 
burning fat.

Mariole | 
Managing director 
of Ignite

The weather has turned perfect at the moment and the temperature has gone down to the lows 20s across the Emirates. Now all that people need is motivation, the expert said.

“There are running tracks on Palm Jumeirah, at Safa Park, Jumeirah Beach. Every single residential tower here has a gym. That’s a luxury you do not have in other parts of the world. I can’t understand how people make these excuses,” he says.

He points to sports clubs where you can enjoy football, beach volleyball, cricket, tennis. “You are spoilt for choice,” he says.

Mariole said smoking used to be the leading cause of death. And now lack of activity is causing major illnesses, he said.

Doctors say that lack of exercise is leading to lifestyle diseases as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

“We have to promote the idea (that being active is being healthy) and that it is good for your family and children,” he said. “The idea is to have fun with your kids, kick a ball, toss a Frisbee on the beach.”

He said people get motivated to keep fit if they know it is better to take prevention, instead of being reactive.

He said fitness is good for children and families. Being fit benefits the community, he said.

His wellness group promotes healthy lifestyle to corporations too.

His office is in the gym on the eight floor of an apartment building on Shaikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Some residents had taken time off their busy schedule and come up to enjoy swimming in the blue waters of the open-air pool on the roof. Others were seen busy on the treadmill, getting their aerobic workout.

Mariole points to initiatives by the Dubai Sports Council such as the ‘Yalla Walk’ and the Dubai Run. (Yalla in Arabic translates as “Let’s Go” or “Hurry up”). ‘Yalla Walk’ is co-sponsored by the Dubai Municipality and hopes to get a lot of people moving and stop them from being prone to various illnesses due to inactivity.

The other emirates have also taken initiatives to get people moving. The Zayed Marathon in Abu Dhabi attracts thousands of children at Yas Island ad the annual Terry Fox Run brings thousands on the roads. “This is creating opportunities (for the community) to interact.”

He said exercise releases endorphins, the hormones that gives you energy and keep you from feeling lethargic, helps reduce stress levels and eliminates toxins from the body.

“A 45-minute exercise, three times a week, will help reduce the risk of heart disease by 20 percent,” he says.

He said even moderate exercise is good, such as walking at a brisk pace of 12 kms per hour, or gardening.

“The best way to burn calories is by getting your heart rate up to a certain point,” he says. “One way of doing that is by ‘interval training’; you go walking or riding a bike at a certain rate, then faster, and then slow down. That raises the heart rate and helps with burning fat.”

Everyone should have a fitness goal. “Find ways to challenge yourself; that I will give up X number of cigarettes, or that I will spend X hours walking with my family in a park.”

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