Play a sport to stay fit and active

Bored of stomping around on the treadmill? Exercising can be a great way to get more active and fit while improving your mental alertness, energy and mood.

A study published last month by California State University, Fullerton, linked children’s participation in team sports to fewer mental health problems. The study highlighted that children who participate in team sports such as football, basketball, cricket and rugby are less likely to show signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, social problems and attention problems.

Team and individual sports can also be a fun way to reach some of your daily fitness goals, no matter your age or your favorite sport.

Dubai resident and student Mikkel D’Mello turns to football for general fitness. “Playing football is more exciting than working out in a gym. You don’t feel confined to your training zone and it’s a great total body workout,” he says.

No matter your age, it’s never too late to improve your fitness. Sports academies in the UAE offer the perfect infrastructure and facilities – both indoors and outdoors – to improve your existing skills and try something new. This summer they have put together a variety of activities for children and adults to help them stay fit and healthy.

“Playing sports benefits a person on multiple levels,” says Shirani Basheer, COO, Racquet Science Academy, a sports training center in Dubai that offers specialized coaching in tennis, table tennis and badminton. “It helps us achieve our fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also helps develop resilience, leadership, teamwork, discipline, patience and other vital skills.”

Schools and parents are now more aware of the importance of exercise in children’s physical and mental well-being, and actively encourage them to learn at least one sport during their developmental years, says Basheer. “Sports academies have played a crucial role in bringing about this change, providing some of the world-class facilities and raising awareness of the benefits of sport.”

The Racquet Science Academy has put together interesting summer camps for children and targeted training programs for adults.

Encourage children to stay active

With schools closed for two months, summer vacation can get pretty monotonous for kids. Lacking regular activity, they often spend their waking hours staring at screens. This summer, give your child the opportunity to be part of a well-structured camp where they can explore rewarding, fun and engaging activities.

“Our goal at Air Maniax and Street Maniax is to keep kids off phones and screens so they can indulge in active lifestyles. Our adventure parks are known for being fun for everyone while keeping you energized,” says Riyaz Suterwalla, Founder and CFO.

“Our parks are the place to connect with the community and encourage an active lifestyle. Our tasty café also offers a wide range of healthy drinks to cool you down and get you healthy,” says Suterwalla.

Air Maniax and Street Maniax offer an exciting range of adventure activities in air-conditioned areas for both children and adults.

“We have a fun summer camp program for little ones at our Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices so they can make memories, make new friends and stay active,” adds Suterwalla.

Sports safety tips

While the most important thing about exercising is having fun, it’s important to listen to your body before beginning a new sport or activity, doctors say. Exercising too intensely without giving your body a chance to recover can lead to injury, muscle strain, and stress fractures.

“Warm up and stretch before an activity or sport to help prevent injury,” says Dr. Mohammad Munir Al Rusan, Specialist – Orthopedic Surgery at Bareen International Hospital – MBZ City.

“Stretching improves flexibility, increases blood flow to the muscles and reduces tension.”

Taking a break and slowing down when you exercise is essential, says Dr. Al Rusan. “Don’t expose yourself to pain. Pain is like a signal telling you to pay attention and rest. It is also important to take time off from training. Even top athletes take at least one day off a week. Rest is very important for muscle growth.”

Proper hydration improves athletic performance, regulates body temperature and boosts energy levels, he says.

“Drink plenty of water. Not only does water keep the body well hydrated, it also helps fuel muscles. When muscle cells aren’t getting enough fluids and electrolytes, it can lead to muscle fatigue and affect athletic performance.”

With additional contributions from Esha Chaturvedi, intern at Gulf News Commercial Publishing

“Tennis has the power to unite people”

In conversation with Leila Raza, Chief Marketing Officer, PRO Tennis Academy

Leila Raza

Please share some details about PRO Tennis Academy.

All of us at PRO Tennis Academy have either played college tennis, played professionally, or played in high school. We have a very strong emotional connection to the sport and we pass it on to our players. Tennis has the power to unite people. It’s a sentiment that’s stood the test of time in cities and communities around the world. And we live by it!

Today we have a great community on and off the court where everyone can make friends through a shared love of tennis.

What are the benefits of playing tennis?

Tennis is a sport that requires a high level of mental, physical, emotional and technical competence; So it’s an incredibly challenging sport to play well. Running around a tennis court is clearly great for your overall fitness, and learning a new skill like tennis is a fantastic way to increase your mental acuity. However, there are many other benefits of playing tennis regularly. On the lighter side of things, playing tennis is a great way to meet new people and most importantly, have fun.

What steps have you taken to inspire the community to get involved in an active lifestyle and thrive?

To keep our players happy, we hold weekly tournaments for different levels and ages. We’re constantly working on an interactive format that promises fast-paced action, a playful atmosphere and behind-the-scenes storytelling. So far it has been a complete success. Last season, from September 2021 to June 2022, we were able to host more than 50 tournaments with over 1,200 participants of all ages over a period of nine months. We also regularly participate in local initiatives such as the Dubai Fitness Challenge, Dubai Sports Council Community Leagues and more.

Leave a Comment