Happy Qatar National Sports Day!

Globally, few countries have a dedicated national sports day. Qatar initiated the National Sports Day in 2012 and this is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday in February. This year, National Sports Day will be celebrated on February 8, 2022. The main objective of the sports day is to promote sports and physical activity to reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. The sports day also highlights the role of sports to help create healthy communities both at a physical and psychological level. Take this opportunity to include physical activity and movement in your everyday life. Get moving, Qatar!

Physical activity includes everyday movement that requires more energy than resting and your muscles to work such as walking, doing household chores, and exercising. Regular physical activity has many health benefits, both immediate (e.g., can reduce stress) and long-term (e.g., can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol). Physical activity can also boost immune function and enhance thinking, learning, and judgment skills. The World Health Organization recommends 150 to 300 minutes of physical activity per week for adults (18 years and older). Children and adolescents (5 to 17 years old) should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Read the detailed recommendations for physical activity (light, moderate, or vigorous intensity) for various age groups and special groups like pregnant women, persons with disabilities, etc.

Practical tips to integrate physical activity in everyday life

  • Alternate sitting and standing tasks.
  • Consider using a sit-stand workstation.
  • Stand and walk when you are on the phone.
  • Do household chores.
  • Park your car farther away to add some steps into your day.
  • Play along with your children.
  • Take a break every 30 minutes to stand and stretch – set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you.
  • Use a fitness tracker/smartwatch to track your physical activity.
  • If you prefer to stay indoors, try free YouTube resources or fitness routine apps appropriately and safely for a variety of preloaded exercise routines.

Current Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) guidelines for exercising outdoors
As per current MOPH guidelines, ensure a 3-meter minimum distance from others when exercising outdoors. A minimum distance of 2 meters should be maintained between groups in parks, the Corniche, and beaches. Wearing a mask is not necessary for outdoor exercise only if you maintain a 3-meter minimum safe distance from other individuals.

Spaces for outdoor physical activity in Qatar
You can go for a walk or run, ride a bike, or kayak. Spending time in green and blue spaces contributes to improved mental well-being. There are many beautiful parks in Qatar providing a safe and optimum built environment for physical activity. You can also try Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First’s recent innovation concept ‘The Fitness Box’ available in some local parks.

The average adult spends more than half of the day sitting. In addition to at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, limit sitting time and interrupt prolonged sitting as often as possible. Make thoughtful choices on how you can add movement and physical activity to you and your family’s everyday lives. 

SourcesMayo Clinic | Hukoomi | WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour | Heart Foundation (Heart Health Education) | Heart Foundation (Active Living) | Ministry of Public Health, Qatar
Contributors: Ms. Raji Anand, Dr. Sohaila Cheema, and Dr. Karima Chaabna,
Editor: Mr. John Hayward