Helping Youth Build a Prosperous Future

A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body: Helping Youth Build a Prosperous Future

Shaheen Al-Sulaiti
Senior Career Programs & Services Officer

Every year, on the second Tuesday of February, Qatar celebrates National Sport Day, a decade-old tradition where organizations and companies from government and private sectors organize events to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyle among society.
The attention that the annual event garners and its prominence on the local agenda reflect Qatar’s deep commitment to the wellbeing of its population, particularly its youth, the leaders of tomorrow. It is also a commitment that Qatar Career Development Center, a member of Qatar Foundation, strongly shares and believes in, as it lies at the core of its mission to prepare youth to respond to the challenges of an increasingly competitive labor market and the tech-driven fast-paced work environments.

Such environments expose employees to the physical and mental health risks of exhaustion and burnout, which ultimately impacts both their personal wellbeing and work productivity.

Studies have shown that sport and daily exercise can help professionals better improve concentration, combat fatigue and weather work-related stress, lending further credibility to the Arabic saying, “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

Taking short regular breaks away from the desk to stretch or walk can help employees be more organized and focus on the tasks at hand. The same applies to fresh graduates who might feel tired or stressed during their early career years due to high competition in labor market and work place.

Educational institutions play a key and influential role in raising awareness about the importance of physical activity. Starting with schools that instill a passion for sports which grows with students from a young age while educating them on the impact of sports on their personal and professional growth. In this context, more attention must be paid to physical education (PE) classes and the assessment of their outcomes, not only at health level, but also in terms of their impact on the student’s academic performance.

Companies and institutions can also play an active role in this regard by encouraging their most valuable assets, the employees, to exercise and embrace a healthy lifestyle. This would boost the employees’ physical and mental energy, which will positively reflect on their productivity and mental health. Employers can achieve this through initiatives such as allocating weekly hours for sports activities, organizing sports events for employees and their families and offering them incentives, or simply by constantly raising awareness of the importance of physical activity.

Few years ago, QCDC successfully applied a similar initiative, when it dedicated an hour at the end of every Tuesday to encourage staff to regularly exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Through this initiative, we urged all our employees to join sports and fitness clubs at Qatar Foundation and even offered to reimburse female employees who choose to join any other fitness club. The initiative has proven to be highly effective in boosting our staff’s productivity and job satisfaction.

I have to point out that through every program or service offered by our center, we are always keen to raise awareness among youth of the role of mental and physical health in building successful careers and achieving life goals. QCDC will continue to pursue these efforts to educate youth on the myriad benefits of leading an active physical lifestyle as we believe that such step is vital to nurture health-conscious generations who can be more productive in all fields, which will ultimately support the Human Development Pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Finally, I hope that our youth will embrace National Sport Day as a key milestone in their physical development journey and I urge them, “start exercising if you are not already doing so. It’s easier than you might think. All you need is to take the first step and stay determined. Exercise regularly, even if it’s just walking, and by next year’s Sports Day, you will reap unimaginable benefits.”