Dear Parents and Students
During the holiday break, I returned to Egypt, a place I called home for thirteen years, which led to me reminiscing about how I’ve changed since I departed in 2013. As a Head of Secondary at a lovely school in Cairo, I worked long hours, had about a two-hour commute per day and did not exercise at all. I was busy with work and had a full social calendar. To compensate, I averaged probably about 5 hours of sleep per night. At 100 kg, I was quite a bit heavier than I currently am and when going for a routine medical check was shocked to hear that I had worryingly high blood pressure.
After leaving Egypt, Nadine and I took a sabbatical and spent a year travelling around Africa. It was during this break that I started exercising regularly and decided I would avoid having a lengthy commute in future. I stuck to the plan for my two years in Jordan and my first two years in Qatar.
However, at the end of last academic year, we decided to try living in Doha. What do you think happened in the first couple of months? With the implementation of our new curriculum and several other exciting initiatives it is fair to say that commute aside, I didn’t have much free time. So, the first thing I accidentally gave up was exercise. Consequently, I gained five kilos in the first half-term. I also found that I was not sleeping so well and frequently would wake up before my 4.40 alarm. I also found that I couldn’t focus as well at work and I was tense, which was confirmed by my increased heart rate that my smart watchkept highlighting.
During the half-term break, I visited a friend in Oman. He convinced me to sign up for the marathon in Muscat next weekend. After researching ‘an idiot’s training guide for marathon running’ (again), I returned to somewhat regular exercise and feel so much better for it. Sadly, I haven’t adhered to my schedule as much as I would have liked but adopting regular exercise, instantly seemed to fix my irregular sleeping patterns, help me think better and reduce my stress levels.
I’m writing this, not to brag about my athletic pursuits. Trust me, if I finish the marathon in one piece, my time will be nothing to boast about. My pace is considerably slower than last year but the training I have done has been beneficial for my mind, body and soul. Now that I’m not getting any younger, the post run stretching is very helpful as well.
I am writing this to encourage everybody, especially those community members that do not exercise to have the courage to become more physically active.
Thank you to those of you that have signed up for our sporting extracurricular activities and community clubs this term. I hope some of you are inspired to rise to the challenge, whatever that may be in whatever discipline you have selected.