UAE Corporates Encourage Employees to Get Fit

Published November 12th, 2019 - 03:43 GMT
Action from the Galadari Football Championship at Al Quoz Dubai. (Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times)
Action from the Galadari Football Championship at Al Quoz Dubai. (Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times)

The UAE's corporate world has been actively promoting the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) among its employees with a simple goal: Promote healthy living.

Public and private entities are organizing various activities for their employees to suit their requirements to qualify for the DFC.

Galadari Brothers has been on top of the leaderboard from the beginning of this edition of the DFC with well-organized fitness events and everyday sessions on the premises of the group's companies. In addition to the regular sessions that included yoga, HIIT, zumba and other workout sessions, weekend events like Galadari Run, cricket tournament, multisports championship and others ensured the participation of employees from various companies of the group.

Yahya Kazi, Group CEO of Galadari Brothers, said: "The Dubai Fitness Challenge is an opportunity to bring all our group companies under a common cause - fitness. We see it as a great team-building exercise where all employees share the same team spirit, enthusiasm and energy and encourage and motivate each other to be fitter. When fitness is treated as a corporate responsibility, it is a big step in turning a nation healthier. This spirit of fitness should continue all year round and proliferate among all our employees in other parts of the world as well."

Manoj Kumar, Group CHRO of Galadari Brothers, said: "At Galadari Brothers, our people are at the forefront of our business and their lifestyle, work-life balance along with their families are of paramount importance to us. The DFC has enabled us to reiterate our commitment towards our people and build an organization which is lighter at heart and in weight... Thank you Dubai."

The Sustainable City introduced a wide range of indoor and outdoor health and fitness activities that were suitable for all ages.

Hadeel Ahmed, communication director, The Sustainable City, said: "We believe in the power of fitness and its impact on both mind and body. We acknowledge that fitness also has a role to play in improving overall quality of work and life. So, we encouraged all our employees to be part of the DFC with the rest of the community at The Sustainable City. Our residents and guests enjoyed exercising outdoors and took some horse-back riding lessons, went for a jog on our running track surrounding."

Similarly, Dubai Retail held a sports tournament across both retail and hospitality divisions which included basketball, football, badminton and a day dedicated to yoga.

Gail Maeko, senior human resources manager, Dubai Retail, said: "Work-life balance is always a top priority for us and sport is the most proven way to drive that behavior. The camaraderie that you experience from Dubai Retail team sports is a great way of forging new friendships and understanding one another better."

Workplace wellness and physical well-being are on the decline among the residents, despite the prevalence of gyms and the recognized value of exercise. Public health concerns about lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, obesity and mental health issues continue to rise.

Isil Ata, head of human resources, Cigna, said: "We believe small, often simple lifestyle changes can have a significant positive impact on our physical and mental health and well-being. We introduced the Cigna Park Run for our employees and the wider community to break down these barriers and encourage participants from outside traditional athletic groups, to simply get outdoors and move."

Cigna employees are incentivized to regularly visit a gym, with the company paying a portion of their membership fees once they attend the gym for a set number of classes in the year.

"At Cigna, we are committed to health and well-being of the people we serve. In line with this, we encourage our people to come together and learn more about leading a healthier and happier life. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is only possible if self-driven. We believe in encouraging our employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle and provide them with the necessary tools to achieving their health goals," added Ata.

Dubai resident Kamal Lalwani, who represents BNI Chapter (Champions), wanted to ensure his business group got involved but did have fears of 40 different business owners to commit to it.

Lalwani divided the team into eight groups with a point system and to his surprise, all 40 members of BNI Chapter (Champions) signed up.

Lalwani's strategy included one point each for working out for 30 minutes, drinking three litres of water and eating clean. The chapter's feed is now filled with salads, sweat and barely any sweets.

"I guess we all are looking for our anchor and Dubai 30x30 was the one for many. With another nine days to go and my second year running, I intend to continue this for as long as possible."

By Sandhya D'Mello

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