‘Just utilise fa­cil­i­ties Dubai pro­vides you to keep fit’

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Kelly Clarke kelly@khalee­j­times.com

For 16-year-old Jada Chalouhi, hav­ing a mum as a per­sonal trainer has proven to be pretty handy as far as the Dubai Fit­ness Chal­lenge goes. When the 30-day fit­ness ini­tia­tive kicked off, Jada in­vited her mum down to her school to give her 26-strong swim team a 30 minute work­out ses­sion. The aim was to get the whole squad ex­cited about fit­ness. And since then, the Chalouhis have done ev­ery­thing in their power to keep that mo­men­tum go­ing.

“This year’s in­au­gu­ral chal­lenge has been as much of a per­sonal jour­ney for me, as it has been a pro­fes­sional one,” Jennifer (Jada’s mum) told Khaleej Times.

Al­though fit­ness may be an ev­ery­day habit for the Le­banese-Amer­i­can ex­pat given that it’s her job, what the chal­lenge has done is brought her fam­ily to­gether, she said.

“I have three girls aged 16, 13 and 10 and we’ve all got in­volved in this to­gether. Ev­ery week­end with­out fail we’ve been go­ing down to the fit­ness car­ni­vals and it’s been such a dif­fer­ent take on fit­ness for us. We’ve be­come a col­lec­tive, and the ob­sta­cle cour­ses have been our favourite by far as a fam­ily.”

From pad­dle board­ing to gym­nas­tics, and rollerblad­ing to bike rid­ing, Jennifer said each mem­ber of the fam­ily has gone above and be­yond the 30 min­utes of daily ac­tiv­ity, and now, she has one hope for the chal­lenge: Longevity.

“I want this to be­come a quar­terly or an­nual ini­tia­tive. As some­one who cham­pi­ons fit­ness as a ha­bit­ual thing any­way, what this chal­lenge has done is en­cour­aged a whole com­mu­nity to get up and about. We can’t let that mo­men­tum die out now.”

De­scrib­ing her­self as a “Duba­ian at heart”, Jennifer has lived in the UAE since 1998 and said the growth in the city as far as its ac­ces­si­bil­ity to out­door fit­ness goes has been great.

“It’s been so en­cour­ag­ing to see that ex­pan­sion as it’s help­ing build a healthy com­mu­nity. There are so many parks now and out­door ac­tiv­ity sta­tions, so its up to us to utilise them. Whether its dance or swim­ming or any­thing in be­tween, my girls are al­ways do­ing more than the rec­om­mended 30 min­utes of ex­er­cise a day. All chil­dren should be.”

And be­ing in the fit­ness in­dus­try her­self for 10 years, she said the ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise, though ob­vi­ous, should never be un­der­es­ti­mated.

“I want my chil­dren to avoid an un­healthy heart, di­a­betes, and other ail­ments later in life. What reg­u­lar ex­er­cise does is strength­ens their en­durance. If they’re stronger now they will be stronger as adults.”

I want this (Dubai Fit­ness Chal­lenge) to be­come a quar­terly or an­nual ini­tia­tive... We can’t let that mo­men­tum die out now.” Jennifer Chalouhi, per­sonal trainer, Le­banese-Amer­i­can

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