Obstacles to exercising in public places


Al-Jazirah newspaper

Several initiatives have been promoted on social media over the past few months encouraging the public to go out walking in streets and in parks to remain healthy and lose weight. The initiatives emphasize that walking can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, which are closely associated with obesity.

These initiatives, however, can only be successful in neighborhoods that have areas where one can walk and jog. Nevertheless, the initiatives are praiseworthy because they seek to encourage people to get active by walking or jogging outdoors.

One obstacle that such initiatives perhaps face is the absence of proper public areas where people can exercise. Moreover, the current outdoor exercise areas are unclean and very unsightly. In fact, most roads do not have pavements for walking. Those roads that do have pavements are usually unsafe for people to use.

Moreover, roads do not have traffic signs to warn people about dangerous spots or intersections. That is why the number of people who get hit by cars on roads is on the increase. We read every day about accidents in newspapers. Many people are, therefore, afraid of walking in public.

Another obstacle we are faced with is the fact that the Kingdom, according to the World Health Organization, has one of the highest rates of air pollution in the world. Inhaling polluted air while exercising in public can pose health risks similar to the ones posed by being lazy and lethargic.

The concerned authorities should take measures to reduce air pollution in cities so that people can exercise in a safe environment. Numerous studies show that areas that have trees and attractive landscaped green spaces encourage people to walk and exercise and create a positive atmosphere.