Thirty per cent of the world’s population is obese or overweight, according to the World Health Organization, and figures are more alarming in the Middle East. Obesity levels in the UAE are as high as 37 per cent of the population. Against this background, Bareen International Hospital launches its inaugural Take the Stairs 30-day challenge, a social media-driven campaign to encourage people to swap the lifts for the stairs, in a bid to boost exercise levels across the region.

Dr El Zaqui Ladha, consultant – Bariatric and General Surgery at Bareen International Hospital, who is spearheading the initiative, says, ‘With so many high-rise buildings in the UAE, it is often easier to take the lifts. But where possible, we are encouraging people to take the stairs – even if it is only for a few floors.

‘Even a small amount of exercise that helps to raise the heart rate will make a difference in fitness levels for every person.’

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Aerobic exercise helps to keep one’s heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and can help in weight loss. By committing to taking the steps as part of the challenge, it is hoped that the campaign will initiate long-term changes in lifestyle that can combat obesity in the region.

However, people with certain health conditions should undertake this only after consulting their doctor.