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The survey suggests that Riyadh’s sports boulevard will positively influence residents’ fitness culture

JEDDAH: A study conducted by Sports Boulevard has published for the first time the fitness habits and attitudes of Riyadh residents, providing valuable insights into the city’s fitness landscape.

The Riyadh Sports Index, based on responses from 1,000 residents, sheds light on the passion for fitness among the capital’s population.

A significant proportion of Riyadh residents are active in physical activity, with 49 percent exercising at least twice a week, the survey revealed.

A positive sign for the city’s health is that 43 percent express enjoyment of exercise, but want to do more. However, the survey highlights that 76 percent still feel they are not getting enough physical activity, and 46 percent want to exercise more often.

Several barriers to regular exercise were identified, with respondents citing lack of time (45 percent), unfavorable weather (39 percent) and the cost of gym memberships (36 percent).

Also, 18 percent of those surveyed indicated that easy access to facilities would encourage them to exercise more.

With development progressing on the Sports Boulevard, set to become the world’s largest urban linear park, spanning over 135 km and connecting Wadi Hanifah to Wadi Al-Sulai, the survey underscores the potential transformative impact on the city’s sporting culture.

More than 50 state-of-the-art sports facilities are set to be developed, addressing the current challenges of accessibility and promoting grassroots sports.

Currently, only 11 percent of respondents live within 1 km of a sports facility, highlighting the need for increased access. Sports Boulevard aims to revolutionize the city’s landscape, providing safe, green and shaded paths for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes and horse riders.

The initiative is expected to encourage residents and visitors to adopt a healthy sports routine and promote a healthier and more active community.

Jayne McGivern, CEO of Sports Boulevard Foundation, said: “This survey sheds light on how Riyadh people exercise and play sport, and more importantly, how they want to stay fit, healthy and connected. to each other.

“Our first Riyadh Sports Code perfectly demonstrates how the Sports Boulevard will break down barriers to exercise and offer city dwellers and visitors, transform the landscape and people’s lives and welcome a new era of sport and well-being for all.”

Two residents of Riyadh, looking forward to the completion of Sports Boulevard, shared their excitement and positive outlook on how the project will affect the city.

Asrar Al-Shumrani, a Riyadh resident who works at the Prince Sultan Military Medical City, told Arab News: “The sports boulevard will be a game changer for us. With more amenities and accessible spaces, I’m excited to incorporate regular exercise into my routine. It’s not just about exercise; It’s about community and well-being.

Another resident, Mansoor Al-Enasi, shared his hopes: “I believe that Sports Boulevard will redefine our approach to sports and exercise. A wide range of facilities caters to different interests, making it easy for everyone to find the activity they want. This project will undoubtedly boost Riyadh’s sports culture.

The survey identified walking (63 percent), running (47 percent), and soccer (44 percent) as the most popular sports activities among Riyadh residents. The majority (74 percent) indicated that their motivation was to improve physical health, while 53 percent acknowledged the mental health benefits of exercise.

The city’s diverse fitness interests are evident, with 36 percent of respondents going to the gym and 24 percent cycling.

Launched by King Salman in March 2019 and supported by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Sports Boulevard aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.

As a mega project, it aims to make Riyadh one of the top 10 cities globally by 2030, emphasizing the importance of health, well-being and social connectivity in achieving this vision.

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