Abu Dhabi: Around 1,500 pupils walked one kilometre on Monday morning on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, kicking off the seventh edition of the health and fitness fun festival titled ‘Take Healthy Actions to Happiness’.
Boys and girls aged between 13 and 18 from private and public schools in Abu Dhabi were joined by their fellow peers, teachers and supervisors to advocate for happier, healthier and energetic lifestyles.
The walk featured a live demonstration performed by the police band, a set of mix martial arts and jiu-jitsu sessions, including capoeira — a Brazilian martial art of acrobatic movements, back kicks, flips and spins — on the rhythm of berimbau — a traditional Brazilian musical instrument.
The health and fitness fun festival runs for one month across the UAE, bringing together health and fitness enthusiasts, medical experts, and fitness clubs, focused on healthy living and promoting health and fitness awareness and knowledge while having fun.
It will feature a cycling tour open to the public on March 7 at 6.30pm.
Umm Al Emarat (Mother of the UAE) Park will also host fun-filled health activities from March 8 to March 11 from 9am to 9pm.
Ali Al Marzouqi, President of Emirates Skills at the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET), organiser of the event, told Gulf News that the festival would encourage families to adopt healthier and happier lifestyles.
“Each student here today will go back home with a story to tell their families, and we want them to motivate their parents and siblings in engaging in fun-filled, energetic physical activities, and educate them on health tips they have learnt. We want to bring the community together and talk to them about why it’s important to have healthier lifestyles,” he said.
“We aim to instill, especially in the youngsters a new approach to live a happier and healthier life, by keeping an active and fulfilling routine, a balanced diet and regular health check-ups, Al Marzouqi added.
Students taking part in the walk were invigorated and full of energy and enthusiasm before the kick off.
Gulf News joined them on their walk and asked them what brought them to the walk.
Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Omar Al Marzouqi, 14, a grade-nine student at the Applied Technology High school, said that his limitation did not stop him from taking part in today’s walk.
“I can try and walk with the help of my crutches, but not for long, only a few minutes; despite that I am very excited to be part of the walk with my friends and classmates,” said Al Marzouqi.
Salem Al Bedwawi, 15, grade-10 student at the Applied Technology High school, was also on wheelchair but for a different reason. He sprained his ankle the previous day and was told to get some rest.
“Despite my injury, I really wanted to chill out with friends in today’s walk, that’s why I have a wheelchair to assist me,” he said.
Fatima Ahmad, 17, grade 12-student at the Applied Technology High school is a health buff.
“I enjoy outdoor activities, I’m actually quite sporty myself. I play aerobics and go the gym often, and today’s walk is a great chance to keep me in shape and energetic,” Ahmad said.
The writer is a journalist based in Abu Dhabi