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October 1, 2018

300 cycle 15km to raise awareness about heart-healthy activities


October 1, 2018

Wearing black t-shirts inscribed with slogans related to World Heart Day 2018, around 300 cyclists traveled a distance of 15 kilometers on Sunday morning from Dellawala Clifton to Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) to raise awareness about importance of physical activities for the prevention of cardiovascular and other diseases.

The cyclists, who included men, women and even young children, belonged to a cycling community, ‘Critical Mass Karachi’, who used their Facebook page and other tools to mobilise their community and collaborate with AKUH to organise a cycling event for promotion of physical activities which can help prevent heart diseases, diabetes, degeneration of bones and other ailments.

“When AKUH approached us to cycle in connection with World Heart Day 2018, it excited us all and you see here that around 300 cyclists have come here from Clifton to show their commitment to healthy lifestyle”, Naeema Kapadia, one of the leaders of Critical Mass Karachi, told The News at AKUH.

Kapadia said every Sunday cyclists from across Karachi gather at some location in the city and cycle for a long distance to create awareness about benefits of cycling, which is not only a healthy activity but also one of the most environment-friendly modes of transportation.

“This Sunday we travelled 15 kilometers on our cycles to let people know that it is a healthy activity,” she said, adding that people in the developed countries are now using bicycles as a mode of transportation to remain healthy and reduce carbon emissions.

Denying the impression that only affluent class of Karachi participated in such activities, Kapadia claimed that many youngsters from underprivileged areas such as Lyari are also a part of their group.

Another cycling enthusiast, Arif Belgoumi, said underprivileged people who used to ride bicycles earlier have now shifted to motorcycles. He added that if conducive environment is provided to them, a large number of them could return to riding bicycles to reach their work places and educational institutions.

“In past, our women and girls used to ride on bicycles in Karachi but then times changed and women on cycles were not welcomed [by society]. We are trying to revive the old culture and you can see a lot of young girls and women using bicycles these days”, Belgoumi said.

Cardiac surgeon at AKUH and organiser of the cycling event Dr. Saulat Fatimi thanked members of Critical Mass Karachi for responding to his call. He said cycling events created more impact than medical camps regarding creating health awareness.

“There are myths that heart diseases are diseases of the upper class. In fact, they are more now diseases of middle and lower middle classes,” Dr Fatimi said, adding that there is another false perception prevailing in society that women do not suffer heart attacks. Women are increasingly acquiring heart diseases due to lack of physical activities, the cardiac surgeon explained.

Claiming that AKUH is a health facility that caters to needs of every section of society, Dr Fatimi said eight hundred thousand needy patients are expected to avail welfare services at the hospital in the next year.

The cardiac surgeon also talked about a poster competition organised by AKUH for schoolchildren on the occasion of World Heart Day in which children of schools from all over Karachi participated and made posters on the themes of healthy lifestyle, healthy heart and benefits of exercise.

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