Abu Dhabi launches citywide wellness programme

The initiative aims to promote a holistic approach to well-being among the capital’s residents

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The Abu Dhabi Sports Council unveiled a long-term wellness programme on Monday, featuring health and fitness-related activities, as well as a mobile application.

Called the Abu Dhabi 360, the initiative aims to promote a holistic approach to wellness among the capital’s residents, covering aspects such as physical, mental and social well-being.

“Our hope is for Abu Dhabi 360 to spark a movement towards improved wellness — for themselves, their families and the community,” Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Sports Council, said.

“It is an inclusive programme that will inspire everyone, regardless of size, shape, age or skill level, to pursue personal wellness and balance, whatever that looks like for them.”

The launch, which took place at the Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Hub, marks the start of a host of future events that will engage various communities in Abu Dhabi.

“This is just the beginning, and we are excited to reveal more in the coming months,” said Al Awani.

Wellness pop-up at the cricket stadium

The Sports Council kicked off the emirate-wide programme at the cricket stadium in Khalifa City, giving residents a taste of what's to come as part of the initiative.

Several wellness zones are setup across the stadium, including an open-air gym, a yoga dome, an obstacle course, and a recipe wall, among many other health-related activities.

Abu Dhabi 360 aims to engage various communities in the capital. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Physical fitness activities aside, the venue also has two make-shift domes that serve as booths for one-on-one life coaching — an element to wellness that the Sports Council also wants to highlight. There are also games, including a massive chessboard, as well as a modern twist on hopscotch.

Forging a strong community spirit is important to the programme, which the council said is not only about nutrition and fitness, “but also mental health and social connection”.

Finding 'what makes you happy'

The emphasis on a 360-degree approach is echoed by Amna Raisi, who has worked for years in the field of wellness as a yoga instructor, and more recently a certified life coach.

When asked how people could be effectively encouraged to live healthier, she tells The National: "Number one would be finding the right thing for that person. For example, when it comes to physical health, not everybody wants to go to the gym."

Amna Raisi, a yoga instructor and certified life coach. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

"Find that thing that makes you move and makes you happy at the same time," adds Raisi, who owns her own yoga studio in Abu Dhabi.

Aside from a calendar of community events, the council also launched a mobile application to support its mission.

Anyone can download the free app, which will provide users with a resource on how to participate in Abu Dhabi 360 — from a list of fitness challenges to healthy recipes. Users can redeem points whenever they win a challenge and exchange them for prizes.

The app also features a movement tracker, which can be integrated with wearable devices.

The Sports Council hired John Bromley, a British public health consultant and the director of UK's National Social Marketing Centre, to help them design the programme.

“This multipronged, evidence-based programme is designed to help people change their behaviour by providing personalised tools that will empower them to improve their own health,” he said.

“Our aim is to ensure that everyone feels as though they have the capability, motivation and opportunity to be more active in their everyday lives.”

Bromley has previously worked with the Abu Dhabi government on its national healthy eating strategy, which specifically targeted the problem of obesity in the capital.

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Updated: December 13, 2022, 9:55 AM