Fitness Challenge (DFC) – the world’s only citywide fitness movement launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, will return for its third consecutive edition from 18 October to 16 November, 2019. Overwhelming engagement of Dubai’s residents and visitors since the inception of DFC has demonstrated a joint social commitment to embracing a happier and more active lifestyle, as the festival encourages all-inclusive participation through a wide range of easily accessible fitness and wellness activities and programmes throughout Dubai for an entire month.
Amplifying this spirit even further, the 2019 DFC will transform the whole city into a gym, so every individual regardless of age, ability or fitness level has the opportunity to complete their 30 minutes of physical activity for the 30 days. DFC will feature two dedicated Fitness Villages, ten Community Hubs, more than 40 events and over 5,000 classes and activities taking place through the month. The action-packed calendar will bring the city to life featuring flagship programmes of fitness gurus and iconic brands. Notable amongst these is an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class on October 26 with “The Body Coach”, best-selling author and Instagram fitness star Joe Wicks.
Commenting on the Challenge, His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, the Director General of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), said: “Dubai Fitness Challenge the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has helped cement Dubai’s position as a global city that prioritises health and fitness. Fundamentally the fitness movement aims to make Dubai the “Most Active City” as well in the world – and with each edition, DFC has been taking us further along this journey.
His Highness founded DFC on 3 key principles: (a) inclusivity; (b) accessibility; and (c) sustainability – with a view to ensure that people from every walk of life regardless of age or ability, are able to make fitness an integral and enjoyable part of their lives. And our 2019 edition promises to further this agenda backed by the strong support of our partners and global leaders in fitness, as we turn the city into an active gym for 30 days, showcasing Dubai’s diverse health, fitness and outdoor offering across multiple locations. Created for all, DFC seeks to remove any barriers to achieving personal wellness goals and we urge all nationals, residents, visitors, government entities, businesses, communities, schools and universities, to be ‘In The Challenge Together’ with Dubai.”
One of the recognised prerequisites to inculcating a behavioural change is the need for relatability and personalisation. DFC 2019 brings this idea to life with its new launch “Find Your 30” virtual content hub – a one-stop destination to a wide range of fitness content for all ages and abilities where anyone can craft their individualised fitness programme. The hub will serve as free-to-access fitness inspiration on the DFC website, and will link to details on DFC events and sessions to ensure seamless technological integration for participants to navigate their personal fitness journeys both during DFC and beyond.
Delivering on its promise to make fitness readily available to all, the hub will feature “City is a Gym”, a virtual map of Dubai spanning 30 different locations across the city where individuals and groups can work out for free without any equipment. Upon arrival at each location, participants can scan a QR code with their mobile device, and an easy-to-follow workout unique to that place will appear for them to complete their 30 minutes of exercise.
To truly make fitness part of daily life, convenience and proximity are key and this year DFC spreads its physical footprint wider to offer key residential areas easy access with 10 Community Hubs that will complement the two larger-scale flagship 30 day Fitness Villages, located at Festival City Mall and Kite Beach. The Fitness Villages have been designed to inspire people from diverse interests and abilities to put in their daily 30 minutes of fitness opening on the first day of DFC, 18 October.
The Kite Beach Fitness Village, in association with Etisalat and Meraas, will offer a variety of outdoor activities across multiple zones, each created to provide a unique fitness experience set against the picturesque Arabian Sea. With extended opening hours for the 30 days from 7am to 9pm from Sunday to Wednesday and 7am to 11pm from Thursday to Saturday, the zones include beachside basketball, boxing and martial arts, yoga and meditation, and a dedicated kids’ play area, in addition to a water sports centre with equipment and trainers for stand-up paddle-boarding, canoeing and kayaking amongst other aquatic fitness activities including an aqua obstacle course. The Village will also include a specially designed Tough Mudder ‘Get Tougher’ training obstacle course with an array of fun, muddy and dynamic obstacles to try out, as well as a Mini Mudder course for kids.
The Festival City Mall Fitness Village, in association with Fitbit and Al-Futtaim, is set to span both indoor and outdoor sections of the mall, and will be open to visitors from 12pm to 10pm from Sunday to Wednesday and 12pm to 12am from Thursday to Saturday throughout the DFC period. The Festival Square of the mall’s ground floor will be transformed into a “fitness zone” with a mix of skill and fitness-based activities and challenges geared towards people of all ages – including Robo-Keeper for football enthusiasts and a Jump Station. The Dubai Festival City promenade will turn into a large workout space with afternoon programming, including a brand-new ‘IMAGINE’ fitness-themed show playing twice every evening. Participants can also rent a bike upon free registration and set off on the ‘ultimate mile’ along the promenade with a series of workout exercises on the way to Marsa Beach, where a range of beach sport activities can be found.
With the formation of ten Community Hubs this year, DFC is making strides to spark the active spirit within different communities across the city, and to enhance accessibility to a variety of workout locations including Hamdan Sports Complex, Zabeel Ladies Club, The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah, The Sustainable City, JLT Park and Bluewaters – with more to be announced soon.
In a true reflection of a city ‘In It Together’, fitness venues and professionals across Dubai are set to offer over 5,000 free exercise classes during DFC 2019 to keep participants fully charged to achieve and smash their goals. Retailers across the city are also jumping on board this year, including global brands such as Nike, Fitbit, Lululemon and Under Armour, with hundreds of deals and offers ranging from sports equipment and apparel to customisable healthy meal plans for participants on offer. The city’s burgeoning health and wellness industry will also be actively involved this year with free check-ups, information sessions, classes and much more throughout the 30 days.
The vast number of citywide events and activations continues to grow as the Challenge’s start date approaches, fuelled by efforts of the Dubai Sports Council. His Excellency Saeed Hareb, General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, said: “In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and under the leadership of His Highness 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, the Dubai Fitness Challenge has become a cornerstone of our city’s ever-growing dedication to physical and mental well-being.
“Dubai today is a model for cities around the world for its emphasis on health and wellbeing, with more than 400 sports events taking place across the year, and the DFC has certainly helped cement its reputation and its status as a city of sports and sports challenges.
"This pioneering initiative has made an impact at not just the local or regional level, but has also received enthusiastic support from around the globe. The first two editions of DFC have seen members from every section of our community, of every ability - young and old, men and women and people of determination - embrace the challenge and, consequently, a physically active lifestyle.
“We at Dubai Sports Council are proud to partner with DFC once again and, together, we hope to achieve the lofty goals of Dubai as a city of sport, happiness and physical activity.”
With less than 20 days to go, all residents and visitors to Dubai – regardless of age, ability and fitness capacity – are invited to pledge themselves to the Challenge and kick-start their personal commitment to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Participants can register via the Dubai Fitness App or Dubai Fitness Challenge website, where they can access all the details on free citywide classes, create social fitness groups, track their daily progress and share their achievements on social media using the hashtag #Dubai30x30. More information is also available on the official DFC website
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