Aspetar, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital held a ceremony to award the winners of Ramadan competition under the ‘Step into Health’ (SIH) programme which was held on 26 August 2015 at Aspetar.

The award ceremony was organised by Aspetar’s Healthy Lifestyle Department and was attended by a number of participants and hospital officials.

The SIH initiative is a part of Aspetar’s Healthy Lifestyle Programme (HLP), which aims to promote the concept of holistic health change to engage the people of Qatar in a self-managed healthy lifestyle programme based on a moderate amount of daily physical activity. Through a non-competitive, recreational and social approach, it encourages each member to walk 10,000 steps a day. The multi-interventions programme helps individuals set personalised targets for physical activity and nutrition, and makes it possible for them to monitor their performance using an online application.

The Ramadan-specific activity encouraged SIH members to maintain their healthy lifestyle habits during the holy month, as it is a time of the year when many people adopt less healthy eating habits. For this, Aspire Dome was open for SIH members as a walking venue every day throughout Ramadan.

Winners were selected at random from three categories: Aspire Dome walkers who averaged 10,000 steps a day during Ramadan; SIH members who averaged 10,000 steps a day during Ramadan; and SIH members who averaged 10,000 steps a day over the past 12 months.

Abdulla Saeed Al Mohannadi, a Health Promotion Researcher at Aspetar commented:

While Aspetar has a very important international role in providing medical expertise for the treatment and training of the world’s leading sports stars, we also have an even more important role towards the local community. This involves encouraging the people of Qatar to follow healthy lifestyles through engaging the recommended daily amount of physical activity and balanced eating habits and promote use of Aspire Zone facilities, and the SIH programme is just one example of this. We are delighted with the huge number of participations in our Ramadan walking challenge, and even more so with the ever-increasing number of participants in the programme. This is proof that the local community is keen to pursue health and fitness, and we at Aspetar will continue to provide all necessary arrangements to continue making this happen. Congratulations to all the winners.’

Sheila Qureshi, long-term walker and SIH member, said:

My motivation has always been to be a fit and active person. Unfortunately, 20 years of running and three half marathons have taken a toll on my joints especially my knees. So I decided to compensate by doing low impact exercise and walking. The pedometer just made me walk more (i.e. gave me a target of 10000 steps on average per day). I sustain it by making it a priority and my family and friends used to tease me about until I said I won a prize. Now they all support me and I have encouraged a few people around me to do more walking. Plus it’s a further incentive getting nice emails from the programme, such as you are a gold member or congratulations for 10,000 steps during Ramadan. These are also great motivators. Thank you!’

From his side, member Jean-Yves Lambert said:

I joined the programme 4 months ago when the company I work for (TOTAL) proposed in partnership with Step into health an enrolment session for its employees. There was a friendly competition organised among employees during the following weeks with weekly publication of the top ten walkers of the week. More recently, a friend at work proposed me to add him as a buddy in the programme and he did the same for 10 other colleagues. He sends us a ranking of the top walkers every Sunday and we are now all competing for fun. It is really motivating for me and I am now taking every opportunity I can to add a few steps during the day. I feel a lot better now that I exercise more and I recently started to practice sport on a more regular basis and to pay more attention to eating healthier food. Joining the programme is a very positive experience for me and I am really grateful to all the people involved in this programme implementation (step into health team and Aspetar) and to the people who encouraged me to join.’

A combined total of 290,623,335 steps were taken by all SIH members during Ramadan, with approximately 257 members averaging 10,000 steps or more a day.

It is worth noting that there are almost 45,000 members registered in the SIH programme. The programme includes health promotion campaigns that have been running in 8 malls, 15 workplaces and 11 universities.