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Kigali: Championing a Healthy Lifestyle

Kigali: Championing a Healthy Lifestyle

Yesterday, I laced-up my running shoes and indulged in the car-free day activities. This was my second appearance since the concept was conceived about four years ago. Despite the popularity of this bi-monthly Sunday morning drill, I rarely show up because I prefer to kick-start my weekdays by running at 5 a.m. and take it easy on Saturdays and Sundays. Besides, I spend most of my weekends out of town bonding with mother nature.

On car-free days, vehicles and motorcycles are kept off the designated routes to clear the road for Kigali people determined to lead a healthy lifestyle and combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). These health freaks walk, jog and cycle without having to share the road with the bully and pollution-prone motorists.

When I joined them for the first time a couple of years ago, I rode a bicycle from Amahoro stadium to Centenary House and back to the stadium. On that unforgettable day, my legs and lungs faced an uphill challenge, literary. This time round, I ran from Gishushu junction to the premises of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) in Kimihurura Sector.

As it was the case during my first car-free day experience, some participants walked while others jogged and rode bicycles. Some chose to stroll easily while others opted to spin their bikes’ spokes like Tour du Rwanda pros. Kids were in the mix, showing off their impressive skating skills.

There was a fitness team that takes to the streets of Kigali every Sunday. Its members were moving as a single unit. Their steps were coordinated and their rhythm was on point. There was chemistry in that group.

At RRA grounds, I joined a big crowd in a mass aerobics session. The instructor did his thing from the podium fitted with a gigantic screen. Upon arrival, I followed instructions from health officials and sanitized my hands accordingly. Then a thermometer was pointed at my forehead like a gun. I felt like a passenger who had just landed from Wuhan.

Jokes aside, I applaud the organizers for taking precautions. As the deadly coronavirus is threatening to cripple the world, stringent measures must be taken to ensure thorough screening is done, especially at the entrance of venues that attract a magnitude of people.

After the session, I drank free water, courtesy of Sulfo Rwanda, producers of Nil mineral water. Then I had a free health check-up offered by the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC). I stepped on the scale and my weight and height were registered by an intern, a medical student from the University of Rwanda. Then my waist circumference was measured and recorded before my Body Mass Index (BMI) was computed. Finally, my blood pressure and sugar content were checked.

I love vigorous workouts. I love the outdoor too. Maybe I should be participating more often. Besides, I wouldn’t mind subscribing to a free healthcare plan.

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