For 30 days a year Dubai transforms into a city-wide gym


According to a new report, the UAE’s physical index score has risen by almost five points. The improvement in citizens’ health over the last four years is in line with the growth of key community initiatives, among them, the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge.

Conducted by global health services company Cigna Insurance Middle East, the Cigna 360 Well-being Survey showed that the UAE is now among the fittest countries in the world, with a physical index score of 65.4 compared to a global average of 60.

The survey gathered data on key markets, including Australia, China, the USA, the UK and Spain, and figures show that while UAE’s physical index score has increased, the average global physical index has dropped. 

Dubai Fitness Challenge

Dubai Fitness Challenge was launched in 2017 to get the emirate moving. The brainchild of the sporty Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it aims to inspire people to follow an active and healthy lifestyle.

The challenge is simple: complete 30 minutes of activity every day for 30 days. Now in its sixth year, it’s bigger than ever with a 30-day calendar of introductory classes and sporting events – many of which are free to both visitors and residents – hosted by fitness associations across Dubai.

Running from 29 October to 27 November 2022, fitness studios offering complimentary classes include NRG Fitness, which is offering free HIIT classes every Wednesday at 7 am in tourist hot spot Dubai Marina, and Boxica in Studio City, offering ‘Ride’ exercise bike classes.

Bluewaters Island – home to the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, Ain Dubai – is also offering a range of group classes, from Zumba to yoga, as well as hosting the 9th edition of the Dubai Women’s Run on 13 November. Girls and women of all ages will take part in runs ranging from 3km to 9km, alongside local fitness influencers.

The Emirates NBD Unity Run (lead image), taking place on 19 November in Dubai Design District, aims to promote diversity and the social inclusion of disabled people in the UAE. Open to children and adults of all abilities and ages, and free to enter, it comprises a 3km fun walk as well as 5km and 10km timed runs. Participants can run, walk, use wheelchairs or push strollers towards the finish line.

Event Director and Managing Partner of FittGROUPME, Ruth Dickinson, says: “The Emirates NBD Unity Run is a very special annual celebration that brings together the community to highlight the importance of accessibility and inclusion of people of determination across all areas of UAE society. The event is included in the annual 30×30 Dubai Fitness Challenge, and taking part is a fun way to participate in the challenge while supporting people of determination and the cause for inclusion.”

Commenting on this year’s location for the run, Ruth adds: “As our new venue, Dubai Design District is an exciting development with the walk and run routes taking in the fabulous views of Downtown Dubai. The Emirates NBD Unity Run is a great family event.”

The flagship event, Dubai Run, will take place on 20 November, taking over the iconic Sheikh Zayed Road, giving people a once-in-a-year opportunity to run past landmarks such as the Museum of the Future, Dubai Opera and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, on either 5km and 10km routes.

When the event concludes for another year, organisers hope to have raised awareness of not only the importance of fitness but also of the free fitness facilities open in the emirate year-round, from outdoor gyms to running tracks.

For more, please visit the Destination Dubai hub on

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