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Many Saudi women keeping up with ‘gym trend’ – but skip healthy eating

Is working out the next trend?

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Many people in Saudi Arabia visit gyms for health reasons and to look good. However, there are some, especially Saudi women, who visit gyms because it is a trend and an “in thing.”

Sarah Ali is a 25-year-old Saudi woman who believes that many Saudi women visit gyms because it is a trend and that most of them pay little attention to what they eat and how they exercise.

“In the society that I live, most of those who visit gyms do so because it is a trend. They visit gyms once or twice a month despite having the time to go more frequently.

I know some who go to the gym and then head off to eat fast food as a way of rewarding themselves for going to the gym,” she said.

Sarah began visiting a gym around three years ago. “I initially visited the gym as many other people do as it was the in thing to do.

I have, however, recently found it to be very useful. I have started to watch my weight and nutrition. The change in my lifestyles makes me feel fresh and confident.

Now I feel happy and live a more healthy life,” she said. Rima Muhammed is a 31-year-old Saudi who began visiting the gym as a form of therapy when she developed a problem with her leg muscles. She has never stopped since then.

Rima believes that many Saudi women visit gyms as a trend. She believes that there should be more awareness informing women that going to the gym is not a trend but a way of leading a healthy lifestyle.

“You shouldn’t be going to the gym so you can take photographs of yourself wearing sports outfits to post on social media and show yourself as being classy,” she said.

“We need some awareness about visiting the gym and its benefits. A large number of people visit gyms for health reasons.

I have seen many others who visit gyms because it is an in thing to do. I believe those who go to gyms as a trend waste the opportunity to lead better and healthy lives,” she said.

“The cost of female gyms is very high, but if there were sports clubs for women then the cost of gyms would go down … I believe that we should have more therapist gyms and instructors as well,” said Rima.

Bashyer Abdu, a Saudi female in her 20s, has been visiting a gym for a year now. “Most people in Saudi Arabia visit gyms because it is a habit.

Maybe for some people it is a trend,” she said. Abeer Makki has been going to a gym for some four years now. “I like aerobics and other kind of sports.

I go to the gym because it benefits the heart, bones and muscles,” she said. She added that some people go to gyms to lose weight.

“I think most people go to gyms to lose weight while others go to spend their free time and for health reasons,” said Makki.

However, there are still a few females who prefer to do sports at home. Rafan Abed, 18, has been playing sports for some two years now.

“I do yoga and aerobics at home to protect my health. Sport also helps the person develop a better mood and better mental health,” she said.

“Sports have helped me to have a better life. The portion of food that I eat has decreased and I feel more energetic,” Abed added.

Some Saudi females prefer specific kinds of exercises that burn large numbers of calories. Hadeel Rashwan has been exercising for four years.

“I prefer swimming because it refreshes the body and you can move all of your body muscles. I also like Zumba because I enjoy it and it helps burn almost 900 calories per hour.

I like yoga since it helps me to relax,” she said. “Fitness is very important for a fat or thin person. Sports affect a person’s psychological health and helps get rid of toxins in the body,” she added.

However, some Saudis still visit gyms because it is a trend. May Mohammed is in her 20s. “I think that girls go to gyms because it is a trend.

Gyms have been open for many years and no one used to go. However, women are now going and have their own personal trainers to help them show off,” she said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday August 08, 2015.