‘Just utilise facilities Dubai provides you to keep fit’
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