Sport and Exercise: HMC Employees Set the Example for Healthy Living
Two Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) employees are setting the standard for healthy living through their love of exercise. Dr. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, an Orthopedic Surgeon at the Bone and Joint Center and Mr. John Smith, Project Manager, Support Services with HMC’s Ambulance Service, both have a passion for endurance sports.
Dr. Al Kuwari is a keen cyclist who first took up the sport after being introduced to it by one of the surgeons he was being taught by at university in Canada. “I noticed that he was never tired and I asked him how he managed this. He told me that he cycled to stay fit and it helped him focus at work. So I bought a bike and began cycling with him and from there my passion for the sport was born,” explained Dr. Al Kuwari.
Following a 27-year career in the British military, for which endurance running was part of his job, Mr. Smith was encouraged by friends to run the Ooredoo marathon in 2014, the first formal marathon he had entered. “Though I hadn’t done any formal training for the marathon, it was a brilliant experience. I’ve since completed the Ooredoo marathon every year and to challenge myself I now look for marathons in various countries around the world. In the past four years I’ve completed 14 marathons, including in China, Jordan, Myanmar, and Switzerland,” explained Mr. Smith.
Dr. Al Kuwari also combines his passion for cycling with travel and has taken part in many road and off-road cycling events around the world. “I have traveled to more than 20 countries for various cycling events. My most recent challenge was cycling 400 kilometers across Cambodia with 14 friends. It was an amazing experience and an incredible way to see a new country,” said Dr. Al Kuwari.
“One of my proudest accomplishments was achieved through the Global Biking Initiative, which organizes cycling events across different countries in Europe. With other members of the Qatar Cyclists group, of which I am the Chairman, we have raised over four million Qatari Riyals to build a school in Gaza,” he added.
With National Sport Day taking place this month, Mr. Smith offered some advice for people wanting to get involved in sport or regular exercise for the first time. “People need to overcome the psychosocial barriers and believe that they can do it. Setting a goal is a great way to motivate yourself, even if the initial goal is to walk just 500 meters. From there it’s simply a case of progressing and increasing the goal gradually. Don’t think you can’t do it, you really can,” explained Mr. Smith.
Both sportsmen believe that physical activity has had a positive influence on their health and their overall lives. Dr. Al Kuwari explained: “Cycling has really changed me as a person. It gives me a lot of positive thoughts and helps me perform better in other aspects of my life and work. As a surgeon, I have to stand and concentrate for many hours at a time and cycling has really improved my endurance and focus, enabling me to become a better surgeon. Through cycling, I have overcome some enormous challenges and this helps me to believe that nothing is impossible.”
Mr. Smith utilizes goal setting to stay motivated and says he is currently training for his biggest challenge yet. “I’ve booked myself onto the Batan Memorial March in the United States this year. And this is not just a marathon; it’s a marathon with weights. I will have to run with a pack weighing around 18 kilograms. This will offer a unique challenge for me in terms of the training preparations and race day itself,” said Mr. Smith.
Dr. Al Kuwari believes National Sport Day has changed the way people think about sport and really helped to highlight the benefits of exercise to people in Qatar. “It provides a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved in a sport for the first time, which can only be a good thing for the health of the nation. I am very proud of the way in which Qatar is promoting sports and becoming a role model with its approach,” commented Dr. Al Kuwari.
Hamad Medical Corporation
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the premier non-profit health care provider in Doha, Qatar. It was established by Emiri decree in 1979 and manages five highly specialized hospitals, namely, Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women's Hospital, Al Amal Hospital and Al Khor Hospital. Since its establishment, HMC has rapidly developed medical facilities capable of providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of diseases that previously could only be managed in overseas medical centers.
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