The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Contents - by Man­jula Ra­makr­ish­nan

Emi­rati moun­taineer Hanady Al­hashmi is ir­re­sistibly drawn to­wards peaks, which she says chal­lenge her lim­its

Hanady Al­hashmi is an Emi­rati pro­fes­sional moun­taineer from Abu Dhabi, who has scaled four out of the seven ma­jor sum­mits from across seven con­ti­nents of the world. When asked what are the most im­por­tant items to carry on th­ese treks she quips, “Take along a fit body and mind!’’

The adren­a­line of reach­ing heights and be­ing amongst the pris­tine, tran­quil clouded peaks of moun­tains drove her to fol­low her dreams and to­day she has suc­cess­fully climbed over 10 moun­tains around the globe.

In June 2017, she be­came the first Emi­rati woman to suc­cess­fully reach the top of North Amer­ica’s high­est moun­tain — Denali, lo­cated in Alaska, USA, stand­ing at a whop­ping 6,190 me­tres.

Hanady says, “You will have to go through the en­tic­ing com­bi­na­tion of strug­gle mixed with en­joy­ment and ex­cite­ment and reach the sum­mit, one de­ter­mined step at a time.’’

In line with the Fit­ness Chal­lenge ini­ti­ated by Sheikh Hamdan

Bin Mo­hammed Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chair­man of The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil of Dubai Gov­ern­ment and Dubai Sports Coun­cil, Dubai aims to be­come one of the fittest cities in the world. To­wards this end sev­eral ex­cit­ing ac­tiv­i­ties are be­ing or­gan­ised, but as the very first mea­sure, aware­ness about stay­ing fit has to be cre­ated.

As Hanady looks for­ward to scal­ing all seven sum­mits some day in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture, she wants to place her coun­try on the global map of moun­taineer­ing. She would also like to mo­ti­vate women and chil­dren ev­ery­where to take up ac­tive sports and work to­wards some achieve­ment, big or small to do with sport and fit­ness.

“I think as a sportsper­son, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of fit­ness en­thu­si­asts like me to help more peo­ple in our na­tion be­come fit. As rep­re­sen­ta­tives of our sport, we should work to­gether to achieve this feat.’’

Hanady shuf­fles her time be­tween a day­time job and her own care­fully planned rig­or­ous train­ing reg­i­men, twice a day, both morn­ings and evenings. “I do not miss a sin­gle work­out. I tend to mix a lot of things to keep the in­ter­est alive and te­dium at bay, de­pend­ing on my tim­ings and sched­ule.’’

As a moun­taineer, Hanady un­der­goes a stricter fit­ness reg­i­men, which in­volves mul­ti­ple work­outs such as stair train­ing, climb­ing, hik­ing, cy­cling, body weight train­ing, run­ning and so on, some of which might not be com­mon to oth­ers with a gen­eral fit­ness rou­tine.

“Fit­ness to­day is ev­ery­one’s pre­rog­a­tive and not sub­ject to gen­der bias. Gone are the times when hard­core fit­ness regimes would be sim­ply for men. To­day more women in the world are step­ping up their game with chal­leng­ing fit­ness rou­tines.’’

Her one lament though is that women in the UAE are still lag­ging in terms of work­ing out. “Women tend to have a lot of ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties — homes, chil­dren, their own ca­reers, so they choose to ne­glect their health. On the con­trary, I feel fit­ness and a proper ex­er­cise rou­tine is a greater ne­ces­sity for women for they are un­der stress; and any phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity will help beat anx­i­ety and other stress re­lated symp­toms. I hope to start a na­tion­wide pro­gramme some­day which will en­cour­age more women in this coun­try to come for­ward and test their lim­its, phys­i­cally and men­tally.’’

For Hanady, her moun­taineer­ing played an im­por­tant role in shap­ing her wholesome fit­ness — both men­tal and phys­i­cal. “When I took up the sport, it was pretty tough. The ex­er­cise rou­tines were en­ergy sap­ping, but the pos­i­tive ef­fect was how strong it made me men­tally. Sports helps in not just re­duc­ing stress, but gives you greater con­fi­dence in go­ing about your daily tasks, meet­ing peo­ple, de­ci­sion mak­ing and in short as­sists you in tak­ing charge of your own lives.’’

And as the moun­tains with its grandiose peaks con­tinue to beckon her and there are more sum­mits to scale,

Hanady be­lieves women need to be more aware of what is hap­pen­ing to their bodies over the years. “There needs to be a con­scious­ness about one’s own body and its in­evitable changes; a nu­tri­tious diet is not just an op­tion, but a way of life. More runs, more yoga and med­i­ta­tion will for sure add spice to life. After all women are the build­ing blocks of our so­ci­ety and the back­bone of their fam­i­lies. It is im­por­tant they as­sume a larger role in main­tain­ing the en­tire fam­ily’s fit­ness.

“Moun­tains and peaks epit­o­mise and chal­lenge the lim­its which one can push them­selves to achieve any goal — seen or un­seen — and this is what draws me to its re­gal peaks.’’

Hanady Al­hashmi has al­ready scaled four out of the seven ma­jor sum­mits across the world.

Hanady wants to place the UAE on the global map of moun­taineer­ing.

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