Take the first step to a healthy lifestyle

The UAE ranks amongst the top five countries that are obese and diabetic; 40 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds are thought to be overweight; and most shocking of all, 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women are either obese or overweight.

The Corniche in Abu Dhabi is a great place to start getting fit, although walkers should remember the bike lane is meant for cyclists. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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It's September and it's back to school, back to work and, after a pleasant respite, it's back to resolutions: better grades, aiming for a promotion, or maybe getting started on your idea for a novel . again.
But there's one resolution that too often gets put on hold for another time: leading a healthy lifestyle.
A lot has changed in the capital. Pavements have been widened to make the city more pedestrian-friendly. The Corniche has a cycling path and offers great views for joggers.
Yas Marina Circuit offers its track to cyclists on Tuesday evenings and, of course, we are surrounded by warm seas if you're up for a swim, kite surfing, paddleboarding or any of the myriad watersports now available.
And if it's too hot outside, the city is scattered with health clubs offering indoor activities from weight lifting to cardio sessions. So it's becoming difficult to find a reason not to lead a more active lifestyle.
Yet, being human, we are very good at finding excuses. The couch is always a lot more appealing than an exercise bike; a burger and fizzy drink a lot more appetising than a salad and a glass of water. So we put off the trip to the gym until tomorrow. or maybe the day after that.
The consequences of our making excuses are obvious in the bulging waistlines we can see wherever we look. And the statistics are truly horrifying. Today, the UAE ranks among the top five countries that are obese and diabetic; 40 per cent of those aged 11 to 15 are thought to be overweight; and most shocking of all, 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women are either obese or overweight.
We all know what the solution is: live a healthier life. The problem is one of persuasion. We have to convince ourselves and our family and friends that we have a shared responsibility to look after our bodies. We have to foster a culture that promotes a healthier lifestyle at home, at school and at work. We all have to discover that it feels good to be fit.
That is why The National has launched our Healthy Living campaign. It started a couple of weeks ago to raise awareness about the importance of leading a healthier life, eating healthier food, and fulfilling our potential.
Over the coming weeks we will be highlighting stories that explain how to eat well and enjoyably without clogging our arteries. We will be writing about clubs and gyms and sports and activities that put the fun into fitness. And, sadly, we will also be looking at the inevitable consequences of not looking after our bodies, of bad diets and sedentary lifestyles.
We will also look at the health sector to see what the health entities are doing to deliver the relevant services and support systems that will educate, inform and nurture a healthy living attitude. We will be calling on them to come up with clear, comprehensive policies that ensure healthy living is available to all.
Isn't it time for us all to make that Healthy Living resolution?
Mohammed Al Otaiba is The National's Editor-in-Chief
newsdesk@thenational.ae