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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has launched a national health awareness campaign to encourage people across the Kingdom to engage in physical activity.
The Start Now campaign calls on people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to step up their fitness regimes; to draw on their ambition, courage, creativity and willpower to find motivation and methods for improving their health and wellbeing.
For the campaign, different scenarios have been devised to speak to different demographics across the country. From adding movement to a sedentary office job or encouraging children to take up a new hobby, to finding the willpower to overcome a perceived impediment to exercise — whether you’re a working mother, a grandparent, a person with disabilities or an experienced athlete — the SFA initiative is calling on the Kingdom’s population to take action and be part of a healthier and happier Saudi Arabia.
The federation has made it easier than ever to be involved — individually or communally — through the SFA app.
“The work of the Sports for All Federation to inspire, encourage and facilitate health and wellbeing across Saudi Arabia has taken another significant leap with this new campaign,” said HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, president of the SFA. “The support that the app gives people as they start or continue their fitness journeys is significant; it provides a sense of community, and easy access to a range of challenges and opportunities designed by users and the SFA itself. There’s no time like the present to Start Now and take your next step toward a fitter and healthier life.”
Launched across Android and iOS platforms in July last year, the app allows users to create and manage Community Sports Groups (CSG), create events, invite audiences to encourage mass participation, and discover other CSGs and their events.
Users can also connect their Apple Watch, Google Fit, Fitbit and Samsung Health fitness trackers to the app, giving them a wider-range of capabilities such as self-challenges and group challenges.
By providing physical activity for everyone, everywhere, at any time, the app and Start Now campaign are giving people the tools and motivation they need to design and achieve their fitness goals.
As well as making it easier to participate in physical activity, the app offers users the chance to win prizes through SFA Rewards. Launched in November 2020, users can collect points by taking part in various challenges. Each month, 10 users are awarded prizes — five based on their performance on the app’s leaderboard, and five drawn from a raffle.
SFA Rewards and the app itself represent the second benchmark in the federation’s wider digital strategy to help community level sports participation through technology. The first was the launch of its Healthy Living portal in mid-March last year, which contains a wealth of material focused on making wellness accessible to all.
The federation’s digital strategy took on extra importance in 2020, helping to keep people active and healthy through its website, app and social media channels. An online women’s fitness festival, a childrens’ summer camp, and the popular Baytak Nadeek campaign were among the initiatives that proved the benefit of the SFA’s digital presence.
“The SFA is committed to ensuring everybody has the support and encouragement they need to stay active and healthy, no matter where they are or what their circumstances are,” said SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini. “We stand as a community and succeeded as a community, and we are standing with you again as we launch Start Now. The SFA app is your gateway to a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, as we work together to grow Saudi Arabia’s vibrant active community, and continue to increase the wellbeing of the nation.”
With support from the Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, the SFA is mandated under Vision 2030’s Quality of Life program to increase the number of people undertaking regular physical activity in the Kingdom to 40 percent by 2030. To help meet this target, the federation facilitates frequent sporting challenges and experiences.
In 2020, amid the COVID-19 lockdown, more than 350,000 people took part in virtual and in-person SFA programs, including its landmark initiatives Move to Game — which has seen more than 151,000 people generate more than 10 billion steps so far — and Step Together. In its four editions to date, more than 8,750 people have taken part in Step Together, covering tens of thousands of kilometers in a series of fitness challenges.
A women’s community football league, national cricket tournament, girls’ national sports day, and numerous other events and initiatives have also provided an active outlet for people, whatever their gender, technical standard or social environment.
To enhance its offerings, the SFA has also entered into a series of high-profile global and local partnerships, including with the World Health Organization, Nike, PepsiCo. Arabia and Majid Al Futtaim.
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