RIYADH: Around the world, the coronavirus crisis has brought everyday life to a standstill. Social distancing is no longer an option but a necessity.
And just as the home has also become the office for thousands of Saudis in recent weeks, so it is set to become their gym as well.
Staying in, according to the Saudi Sports for All Federation, does not have to mean the end of exercising, or ignoring your health.
Under the banner of the campaign and hashtag Baytak Nadeek (Your Home, Your Gym), the federation is hoping to promote an activity and health campaign in the coming months.
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, president of the federation, has acted quickly to tackle an issue that could have led to physical and mental problems down the line.
“Given the new regulations that Saudi is facing in terms of staying indoors, we decided to pivot to a more campaign-driven approach that was focused on our secondary messaging: Overall health, wellness and community well-being,” he said.
“We moved very quickly from outside active living to indoor active living. This is showcased in our videos all across social media and on the website.
Prince Khaled praised the role that Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah is playing in the campaign, and the backing received from the Saudi government.
“I’m really proud of having a government that knows what’s good for the people,” Prince Khaled said, adding that Al-Rabiah “has been super transparent and a high-level communicator, keeping everyone informed, and that’s what’s bringing Saudi together as one to keep health and wellness the first nationwide priority.”
The federation “is going to keep pushing on every front to support the government’s aims to keep us healthy and strong,” Prince Khaled said. “This is what our new Healthy Living information portal is about.”
Everything is scientifically derived. We’ve got workouts, fun ideas, we even curated playlists for people in Saudi to use and get motivated.
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, President, Saudi Sports for all Federation
The Healthy Living section of the federation’s website has over the last week been populated with articles and programs that cover a range of topics that seek to maintain physical and mental well-being in the current crisis.
“We’ve pivoted, literally in less than 48 hours, from an entity that’s event-focused to being both events- and campaign-focused,” Prince Khaled said.
“We’re driving public awareness initiatives and frontline campaigns. We have diversity there too. There’s everything from home workouts to the best in-class nutrition advice,” he added.
“Everything is scientifically derived. We’ve got workouts, fun ideas, we even curated playlists for people in Saudi to use and get motivated.”
Nutrition is seen as especially important, with more and more content expected on the Healthy Living portal, which the federation sees as essential going forward in line with the Quality of Life program.
Nor is this campaign designed to be solely a quick fix. The idea is that taking up homebound activities will remain a blueprint for a healthy lifestyle even after the coronavirus crisis has passed.
“I definitely think this is sustainable. This is one of our main objectives,” Prince Khaled said, adding that the federation’s “drive toward making health and wellness information readily available and accessible to all is perfectly timed in line with the government’s goals to secure the safety and welfare of Saudi.”
He said: “As for the sustainability aspect, if there’s any silver lining to what’s happening now, we consider that the … federation is responsible for getting people increasingly educated about nutrition, health, and how advisable it really is to stay active.”
He is aware that the enforced change of lifestyle due to the spread of coronavirus could have certain long-term effects in the coming months, and sees the Baytak Nadeek campaign and similar ones as necessary consequences.
“It’s no secret that one of the federation’s top priorities is people’s health. We have a duty to Saudi and we’re up to that challenge,” he said.
“We’re getting creative with online coaching. We’re recruiting freelance health professionals too,” he added.
“We’ve done a number of private sector partnerships to help us get the right content out at the right time,” Prince Khaled said.
“The positive side of all this is that I think this is something with a long-term health impact. People are now thinking about how nutrition and physical activity impact immunity. This is exactly how we want people to think: Be healthy, eat well, live well, and you’re fortified to some degree.”