World Heart Day from the team at Where To & Best Bites UAE
World Heart Day - 29th September 2021
Each year, the 29th of September marks World Heart Day. This initiative by the World Heart Federation is an international campaign raising awareness on preventing premature deaths associated with cardiovascular heart disease (CVD).
The World Heart Federation have been working hard to educate individuals, and highlight actions that everyone can take, to prevent and control CVD, such as exercising regularly, reducing tobacco intake and consuming a balanced diet.
Meena @ the Where To HQ interviews Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Omar Al Falasi from Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in Abu Dhabi, and explores the benefits of cycling, how it can reduce heart disease and where to find the best cycling tracks in the UAE.
Al Qudra Cycling Track, Dubai
Al Barsha Park, Dubai
Al Wathba Cycling Track, Abu Dhabi
Promoting Heart-Healthy Living
The Where To UAE & Best Bites team have come together, wearing red t-shirts, to support the World Heart Day campaign by participating in a bike ride around Hudayriat Island to promote heart healthy living and raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
In May 2012, world leaders pledged by 2025, to reduce global mortality rates, from chronic diseases, by 25%. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, is responsible for nearly half of all chronic disease related deaths, claiming 18.6 million lives every year.
From left, Bernadette from Yas Cycles, Meena, Alex, Sarah & Lorenna from the Where To & Best Bites UAE team
Cycling is a great way of combining fun and fitness to reduce the risk of heart disease. In the UAE, cycling has become one of the fastest growing sports in the country with organisations like Cleveland Clinic launching their cycle for health initiative. It is suitable for all fitness levels, uses almost every muscle in the body and it’s a good way of improving your fitness and heart health. Only 30 minutes a day will make significant improvements!
Founder and managing partner of Yas Cycles, Aubrey Roberts, who oversees several branches in Abu Dhabi, speaks to Where To UAE and says, 'It is great to see so many people embrace cycling in the UAE. The cycling infrastructure in the Emirates is superb and accessible to all, from absolute beginners to experienced cyclists. Although Hudayriat Island is flat, the circuits are challenging with the prevailing winds off the sea. It has been great to witness the growth of cycling in Abu Dhabi and this, in part, is from the investment from the leaders and government of the UAE promoting fitness and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.'
This year’s World Heart Day theme is, ‘harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of CVD globally,’
We ask our Where To readers, to use the power of social media communication to connect with family, friends and communities and drive awareness of cardiovascular heart disease (CVD).
<<< You can use your own images or download resources here <<<
We have had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Omar Salem Al Falasi, Consultant Cardiologist and the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in Abu Dhabi, one of the UAE’s leading healthcare facilities.
We asked Dr Omar Al Falasi, what are the most important actions to take to prevent or control CVD. He encourages that everyone should maintain ‘an active lifestyle, and a balanced & healthy diet. Research shows that leading an active lifestyle is linked to reduction is CVD related mortality. Even moderate activity such as brisk walking can result in significant reductions of risk factors.’ He continues to advise, ‘Strict control of risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, and smoking,’ and that, ‘the Mediterranean diet has been shown recently to reduce CVD.’
The impact of CVD is global and there are some 520 million people living with the disease, however, I asked him how it impacts this region and what the challenges are. The consultant cardiologist explains that due to ‘high incidence of the metabolic syndrome’ – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure & obesity in this region, ‘we see our patients much earlier compared to European Countries’. However, he continues to express ‘the most prominent challenges that we face as healthcare providers includes the lack of awareness of cardiovascular diseases across the general population, especially within high risk groups, coupled with a major denial issue. During our daily practice, we are frequently visited by young patients with metabolic syndrome who continue to smoke despite the fact that they have a friend or know someone who has been directly affected by cardiovascular disease.’
Dr. Omar Salem Al Falasi, MBBS, MD, FCPSO, is the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in Abu Dhabi.
Where To find a cycling track in the UAE
With cooler temperatures now kicking in, why not combine exercise with exploring the UAE’s landscape and attractions. Here are Where To’s recommendations of the best cycling tracks in the UAE.
Hudayriat Island, Abu Dhabi
It was a great way for the team to combine fitness and fun, and Hudayriat Island is dedicated to sporting activities boasting a range of facilities from a sports village, jogging track, an obstacle course, to a bike park and 5 to 10 kilometres of cycling tracks. You can hire bikes at Yas Cycles, located close to the main carpark.
Prices for bike hire start at 50 AED an hour and 25 AED for every consecutive hour, or daily rates from 150 AED, offering Alloy Bikes and Carbon Bikes (prices may vary), if you have your own and nowhere to store then Yas Cycles are also offering storage. Contact them directly for more info or to book here: https://www.yascycles.com
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi:
Cycle around the world famous Formula 1 track open three night a week, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday - Wednesdays are ladies nights. The track is 5.5 kilometres long and you receive free water too. If you don’t fancy a cycle then you can run or take a leisurely walk around the track. Bike hire available from Yas Cycles (from 50 AED an hour) and the Cleveland clinic stand.
Al Wathba Cycle Track, Abu Dhabi:
If you are looking for a scenic route then Al Wathba cycle track is a spot surrounded by miles of desert and dunes, only 45 minutes form the city centre. There are several cycling routes from 8 kilometres to 30 kilometres – all well-lit and a popular spot for sunset and night riders. There’s an ADNOC shop with toilet / shower facilities, and selling refreshments. The hire shop opening times vary so we recommend you take your own gear, pack some sunscreen and plenty of water.
Nad Al Sheba, Dubai
The converted camel track stretches to 8 kilometres with a 4 and 6 kilometre track plus a children’s course with street signs, speed bumps and roundabouts. Offering fantastic views of Downtown Dubai and views of Burj Khalifa. The track is well lit and popular amongst night riders. Facilities include lockers, showers and air conditioned changing rooms.
Al Barsha Park and Mushrif Park, Dubai
There is a 2km track along Jumeirah Beach and the Dubai Water Canal has a 12km track. Both parks are open 8am to 10pm. Bike hire and helmet rental is also available.
Al Qudra Cycle Track, Dubai
Perfect for middle to long riders, who are looking to get away from the city lights to a tranquil spot surrounded by rolling sand dunes. Al Qudra has an onsite hire shop called Trek Bikes and two routes. The shortest track is 18 kilometres and longest is 50 kilometres. Stop off at the five star Bab Al Shams resort for refreshments en route. For more details on bike hire: www.trekbikes.ae
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