Outdoor sports spread in Daraa city

Walking and running activities are active in the neighborhoods of the city of Daraa, southern Syria - April 20, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Sarah al-Ahmad)

Walking and running activities are active in the neighborhoods of the city of Daraa, southern Syria - April 20, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Sarah al-Ahmad)


Daraa – Sarah al-Ahmad

As you stroll or pass by the public parks in the city of Daraa, southern Syria, you can’t miss the scenes of people engaging in sports activities, which have become a notable outdoor activity for different ages of women and men.

The residents of Daraa city have continued to practice walking or jogging outdoors, despite the deteriorating security conditions in the city and the closure of the municipal stadium since 2011.

Enab Baladi observed dozens of people practicing walking and running in the Panorama park in the al-Qusour neighborhood, while reaching it on foot is considered a workout in itself.

Health and fitness

Khaled (38 years old), who works in construction tendering, told Enab Baladi that he practices walking four days a week, starting the moment he leaves his home in Daraa al-Balad to Daraa al-Mahatta until he reaches the Panorama park roundabout, which takes about an hour and a half of brisk walking.

He added that this sport is better for him than gym workouts because the gyms are closed, timing is fixed, and the exercises are regimented. He considers outdoor walking healthier for the lungs and heart.

As for Tania (28 years old), a housewife living in the al-Matar neighborhood in Daraa al-Mahatta, she told Enab Baladi that she started practicing walking three years ago after gaining weight and finding it difficult to move well, and getting tired from any work.

Tania added that she started with brisk walking then running until she lost ten kilograms in four months, and she is still continuing today, as walking has become an important part of her life.

She prefers to exercise outdoors during the evening hours in the summer, while in the winter, she exercises early in the morning if the weather is suitable.

Challenges of age and illnesses

Mohammad (74 years old) walks briskly daily after sunset in the al-Sabil neighborhood where he lives, and he told Enab Baladi that he has been practicing this sport for 25 years.

He added, as a retired teacher, that sports know no age, pointing out the importance of practicing it among young and old, without straining, at least to breathe fresh air and mobilize the muscles.

Besides walking, Mohammad mentioned that he performs some light aerobics within the Panorama park.

As for Najat (65 years old) who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, she began her outdoor exercise on doctor’s advice, then got used to going out daily in the early morning.

She leaves her home in the al-Sahhari neighborhood in Daraa al-Mahatta with her daughter for half an hour, practicing brisk walking until they reach the al-Qusour neighborhood to the north of Daraa city.

Najat added that outdoor walking is very important for a patient, even for their mental health, as seeing people exercise and breathing fresh air makes her feel better than staying at home.

Benefits of outdoor exercise

Walking is one of the simple physical activities that offers multiple health benefits and is a way to enhance health and physical fitness.

A sports coach at one of Daraa’s sport clubs told Enab Baladi that sports are important for all ages, especially for those who are 30 and above, as a person’s muscle mass decreases with age.

She added that this decrease can only be compensated by exercising, noting that walking and running are among the most important physical activities, playing a role in strengthening the respiratory system especially for smokers, helping to open and expand the bronchi.

She mentioned that they are important for weight loss, beneficial for stimulating blood circulation and heart health, and effective in removing anxiety and depression, and warding off laziness and lethargy.

Outdoor sports carry several benefits, including effectively combining the positive results of physical activity and being in nature, improving mental and physical health, and providing well-being for individuals.


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