Dubai Fitness Challenge 2023: What are the benefits of working out for 30 minutes a day?

The event is built around the premise that residents should exercise for 30 minutes a day for 30 days

Riders on Sheikh Zayed Road during Dubai Ride, part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, in 2022.  Ruel Pableo for The National
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The seventh Dubai Fitness Challenge will kick off on October 28 and go on for a period of 30 days, until November 26.

While a number of gyms, community parks and temporary fitness “villages” will offer complimentary or subsidised sessions, the DFC premise is simple: Dedicate 30 minutes a day to work out, be it any workout, for 30 days.

Experts say regular half-hour fitness sessions may be the ticket to long-term physical and mental health.

“Research shows that working out for just 30 minutes a day increases our well-being parameters on all levels – cardiovascular strength, muscle strength as well as longevity of life,” explains Shaazia Qureshi, co-founder of The Pad, a Pilates studio in Dubai.

“The daily routine, meanwhile, programmes your brain to expect a 30-minute serotonin hit everyday – and that in itself becomes addictive – and also increases metabolism and aids weight loss.”

Feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine, says Dean Henry, functional medicine coach and founder of UAE Peptides, “contribute to a sense of calm and can combat the blues. As such, a daily 30-minute routine offers not only physical but also cognitive benefits, plus it's a manageable commitment compared to longer sessions.”

Henry adds: “This timeframe allows for a diverse workout routine, which you can change up daily, including activities such as stretching, HIIT, weight training, cardio, and more, thus preventing routine boredom.”

DFC is also a convenient launch pad for beginners and those looking to get back on the workout wagon.

Nora Hameidani, founder and creative director at Barre Effect studio in Dubai, says beginners should start their DFC initiation week gradually, with a focus on consistency.

“Set realistic goals, whether that be to gain strength, lose weight or boost your overall wellness. Try to exercise with a friend or a family member as social support can make workouts fun while providing motivation and accountability.”

Nutritious foods that fuel the body, optimum hydration and adequate rest are three other parameters that will benefit your new exercise routine, adds Hameidani. “Your fitness journey is unique, so try not to compare yourself to others and don't forget to celebrate your achievements, big or small, along the way,” she says. “Although 30 minutes may not seem much, it will always be better than doing nothing so remember your 'why' and commit.”

As Adel Sajan, fitness enthusiast and managing director of Danube Group, puts it: “The body achieves what the mind believes. Once you start exercising regularly, the hardest thing is to stop.”

DFC is the brainchild of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, a true-blue fitness buff, and is part of his vision to transform the emirate into one of the world's most active cities.

Other important dates announced on Sunday include: Dubai Ride on November 12 and Dubai Run on November 26, both of which offer fitness enthusiasts the opportunity to cycle or jog on Dubai's arterial Sheikh Zayed Road.

Updated: September 04, 2023, 9:55 AM