The COVID-19 pandemic and the preventive measures it necessitated disrupted just about every aspect of ordinary life including people’s exercise routines. However, the authorities have been considerate and sensitive towards the need for public to maintain good physical health and mental well-being during the pandemic.
Last week, the Supreme Committee dealing with COVID-19 said people can again go to the beach, to take part in ‘individual’ sports.
‘The committee permits the use of beaches to practice individual sports while at the same time maintaining a total ban on gatherings at beaches and elsewhere,’ it said. No doubt, it’s a huge relief for those who were used to go to beaches for their daily exercise sessions.
In a recent study conducted in Oman in which 1,580 citizens and residents took part, 30 per cent of them, the majority being women, said they suffered moments of anxiety and sleep disorders related to COVID-19.
Dr Hamad Nasser al Sinawi, senior consultant at the Department of Behavioural Medicine at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, said, “Upon the start of the pandemic, we conducted a research that confirmed frontline operators’ exposure to psychological pressures which turned into disillusionment when the cases of infection went up. Exhaustion also had its toll on medical staff who had to continue working for longer durations due to the steady rise in cases that required medical care.”
And this is where physical and mental exercises come in to beat the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought fast-moving world to a standstill.
“The impact of this pandemic is massive with the imposed lockdown, resulting in the closure of business activities, public places, fitness centres. This has hampered many aspects of the lives of people including routine fitness activities, which has resulted in various psychological issues. Thanks to the authorities for reopening the beaches as well as ensuring that people have facilities to exercise,” said Obail al Khaldi, an avid walker from Barka.
Last week, Muscat Municipality installed open-air gyms.
Set up by the sea in Muttrah and at Qurm beach, each open-air gym consists of 11 pieces of equipment, including elliptical machines and benches to perform sit-ups.
“Using these equipment is free and they are meant to encourage people to keep fit and spend some time outdoors during the pandemic,” an official from the Muscat Municipality said, adding that this is in addition to different walkways available across Muscat.
Some people Muscat Daily spoke to were in high praise for the government.
“I will definitely be using those equipment set up by the municipality when I am not at the beach for my usual walks. Now that I have many options, I will make good use of my free time to exercise since most of the commercial activities are closed, meaning that I am free from my night duty,” said Abdul Karim, a cosmetics store attendant.
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