Dubai's fitness & health scene boosted by Sportsmania's incredible facilities

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Special guests: Pro players Kamal Ali Sulaiman (l) and Nehal Abdel Aziz (r) are big fans.

The Dubai fitness and health scene welcomed a major new player yesterday with the opening of Sportsmania a multisports facility offering some of the best pitches in the city.

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With the sporting tastes of residents ever more diverse, the new centre in Jumeirah Lake Towers brings pretty much the whole spectrum, with there being five-a-side football pitches, basketball, handball and tennis courts, while beach sports have a new home with beach soccer and volleyball areas.

And with the centre being brand new opened at a special launch ceremony yesterday all of the facilities are in pristine condition and state of the art.

On hand in JLT, alongside Sportsmania Director Fouad Ghandour, were Kamal Ali Sulaiman from the UAE national beach soccer team as well as Nehal Abdel Aziz who plays for the UAE women’s national football team.

Ghandour said: “We are excited to bring the Dubai community a premier offering in sports, with a wide range of options from football to beach volleyball in a state of the art setting right on their door step.”

The football courts are rubberless and give the experience of playing on real grass. All meeting FIFA-standard regulations, the pitches also include the latest shock pad technology to soften impact on joints.

For one, Sulaiman was suitably impressed. He said: “As football is one of the most loved sports in the UAE, I am very happy to be here and experience the pitches and courts.

“We need more investment in centres like Sportsmania that provide our community with access to superior facilities where they can play their favourite sport.

The beach soccer facilities are one of a kind in Dubai and a great addition for beach soccer enthusiasts.”

Sportsmania say they want to inspire athletes to achieve their sports and fitness goals through the quality of their facilities as well as a variety of leagues, academies and one-on-one coaching sessions taught by some of the country’s top sports and fitness instructors.

The centre also wants to attract female athletes and several women’s leagues are now open for registration.

State of the art: Brand new pitches and so many sports to pick from.

Abdel Aziz, who plays as a fullback for the UAE women’s team, said: “I believe the centre will be a key supporter in advancing women’s sports, especially football, and will act as an important hub to attract the growing number of female athletes in the UAE.

“It’s a really beautiful facility to have here. I think it’s one of a kind.

“The team has spent a lot of time, effort and money on putting such a facility in place. It’s great because there are a lot of new technologies and designs. It’s going to be really enjoyable for sport fans to play here.

“I would rate this place very highly in terms of location, access and the number of pitches available. The whole thing is fantastic – 10 out of 10.”

As Dubai residents become more fitness and health conscious, Sportsmania say their mission is aligned with the government’s directives for boosting participation and creating a comprehensive sporting environment.

Ghandour added: “We designed Sportsmania to provide an unparalleled athletic experience to enthusiasts in a unique setting where they can enjoy their favourite sports with friends, family or colleagues.

“We are confident that Sportsmania will become the Dubai community’s new home for sporting excellence and health and fitness.”

In support of youth sports, there are a series of children’s academies open to all abilities for ages five to 14 years. Ghandour believes that many of the 60 or so schools and universities in the surrounding neighbourhood of Sportsmania are currently underserved when it comes to facilities.

“With the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes, we certainly hope that the schools who are not able to offer the children sporting programs because of a lack of facilities will benefit from our centre,” he added.

On top of the pitches, the amenities include spacious male and female changing rooms and lockers, a retreat area, a comfortable lounge area with large screens for viewing the latest live local and international sports matches, a function room for events and birthday parties, free wi-fi throughout the venue, ample parking for all members, a cafe and a sports memorabilia shop.

Companies wishing to promote corporate wellness and boost team spirit can create their own private leagues or alternately take part in one of the new corporate leagues Sportsmania is planning on launching. With a host of special rates and offers to coincide with the centre’s opening, now is a good time to pop down and check out Dubai’s latest sporting hub.

What : Sportsmania, multi-sports complex.

Where: Jumeirah Lake Towers (see website for exact location), open 14:00-00:00.

Prices: Various, with special offers available following official launch.

Contact:  sportsmania.ae / 052 242 4789.

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#360fit: Obstacle and adventure races coming up in the UAE

FitnessLink 13/04/2015
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There are plenty of challenges in the UAE for more adventurous competitors.

Mark your calendars: there is a plethora of obstacles and adventure events coming up in the UAE in the next few weeks. Here’s a few of them you don’t want to miss out on.

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The Sand Pit Run

Friday, April 17

The Sand Pit is a 10 kilometer obstacle run which is a friendlier version of other obstacle races, in that it is not timed. Organizers stress it is not a race, but rather a personal challenge.

Climb over 3 metre walls, run up sand dunes, slide through freezing cold water and other exciting obstacles along the course. It’s going to be held in one of the greenest and most visually stunning venues in the UAE, Al Barari.

For more information and to register for the challenge, visit The Sand Pit official website at www.thesandpitrun.com.

Rush-A-Way
Friday, April 17

Inspired by ‘The Amazing Race’ (below), Rush-A-Way is an adventure race which will have teams travelling throughout Dubai to complete challenges that will test their mental, physical and navigational skills. The race will be held on Friday, April 17 and there’s still time to register your team before the Tuesday, April 14 deadline.

Teams will consist of two people, who will go from challenge to challenge to collect clues for the next task location. The team that crosses the finish line first will win, so communication will be key.

The tasks will vary in genre, with skills challenges to test accuracy, physical challenges to test speed and strength and mental challenges to test brainpower and logic. It is recommended that each team use their own car and while GPS is allowed, navigational skills will be important to get around.

Tickets for each team are priced at Dh250 and can be purchased here.

Desert Warrior Challenge
Friday, April 24th – Abu Dhabi

The Desert Warrior Challenge is back for its second edition. Moving away from Dubai and towards the capital, this extreme military-style endurance obstacle course is setting up on Yas Island for a 10km course packed with over 20 military-style obstacles to test your strength, stamina, and mental grit.

The obstacles can’t be conquered solo — competitors must rely on their fellow warriors to give them a boost. And with their promising tagline of “Bigger, Better, Wetter" you can bet there will also be a few water-based obstacles thrown in too.

Visit www.desertwarriorchallenge.com for more information.

Wadi Adventure Race 9
Saturday, April 25 – Al Ain

Time and time again, WAR delivers. Held at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain, at the foot of Jebel Hafeet mountain, the event is recognized as, not only the oldest, but one of the most enjoyable obstacle races around.

You’ll be crawling through tunnels, leaping between inflatable rafts and swimming against the rapids, dragging heavy-duty sandbags across the desert. The event is filled with a lot of camaraderie and, after the race, a buffet lunch awaits.

Entry is Dhs225. Visit www.wadiadventure.ae.

Talise Sand Storm
Friday, May 1 – Dubai

A shorter obstacle race distance to test yourself as you are faced with a series of fun and challenging obstacles designed to test your resolve and determination across a 4km sprint course.

Climb, crawl, run or jump through a series of unique challenges devised using the elements of sand and sea, all against a stunning backdrop of the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Although climbing, crawling, paddling, jumping, flipping, dragging, carrying, running, wading and maneuvering will all be required, swimming won’t be.

Plus with competitive, intermediate and casual categories, you can be both challenged if you want to or just opt in for a bit of fitness fun. Light bites, tea and coffee will be served after the race.

Registration is 450Dhs. Register online here by April 30th.

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Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Can’t run? Yes you can! Tips to get started

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Let's jog: Running has numerous benefits.

The benefits of running are many:

• Improved health for the heart and lungs as well as all major organs

• Improved bodily functions and overall health

• Weight control
• Energising

• Great for mood improvement
• Cheap and convenient – all you need is a decent pair of trainers
• A moving meditation – as the miles slip by, you can put your world to rights
• A good night’s sleep
• Can be social or a great time to be by yourself and switch off
• A multitasker – the dogs get plenty of exercise, your children can ride their bicycles alongside and your partner can join you.

The problem is that people just don’t prepare and build up to jogging and can be put off within the first couple of weeks.

Despite all of these benefits, so many people say they simply can’t run. Anything from getting out of breath to injuries are all barriers to what is one of the most effective forms of exercise. The problem is that people just don’t prepare and build up to jogging and can be put off within the first couple of weeks.  Follow these rules and nothing will stop you!

1. Trainers: You must have the appropriate footwear suitable for your gait if you can find a shop with someone to watch you walk. If not, try on lots of pairs and see which are the most comfortable and supportive. The wrong footwear will lead to injuries and yes, the best trainers are expensive but they will last at least a year.

2. Walk: If you are overweight, unfit, new to running or have joint problems, you must start off by walking, gradually picking up the pace as your body becomes stronger. Running is a high-impact sport which will put pressure on your joints – knees and hips in particular – unless your muscles are strong enough to take the impact.  As with all exercise, when you start to struggle for breath, slow it down then pick up the pace again.

Running is a high-impact sport which will put pressure on your joints – knees and hips in particular – unless your muscles are strong enough to take the impact.

3. Count the breath: Don’t just leave breathing to chance. Count for four or five steps as you inhale, then four or five steps as you exhale. As you pick up the pace, you will get fewer steps for your breath.  By counting, you will ensure that you will have enough breath rather than collapsing in a heap gasping for air. It will ensure that your muscles are getting enough oxygen to prevent those heavy, painful legs half way through your run.

4. Warm up: Walk for about 500m, swinging your arms, breathing deeply, perhaps bringing the knees up high from time to time. There has been an anti-stretch campaign prior to exercise for some time now, but if you warm up as suggested above, the muscles will be warm enough to gently stretch them which will definitely help avoid injury. 

5. Find a friend: If you find that you are at different levels of ability, the better runner can always sprint for a 100 or 200m and then jog back to their companion. The point of a friend is that it will be more fun and you will both be able to motivate each other to turn up.

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