We know South Africans are movers and shakers – wherever they are living in the world, so it’s no surprise to us that South African expats Javed and Shanna Gani, who moved to Dubai last year, have opened up the world’s first “kids fitness centre” in Dubai
The aim of the centre, which is called Little Gladiators, is to combat childhood obesity and have fun at the same time. The couple said the idea for Little Gladiators was inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who hopes to reduce childhood obesity in the UAE from its current rate of 34 percent to 12 percent by 2021.
When the Ganis arrived in Dubai they were actively looking to start a business and researched many different ideas with different business brokers but were struggling to find anything unique. They then sat down and looked at the current situation in the country and realised that children and their health were a big area of focus.
When they conceived of the idea of Little Gladiators, they thought that Dubai was the perfect country to introduce a world first. Javed has also struggled with obesity and hopes Little Gladiators will prevent the younger generations from going through and dealing with the same health issues he has had to experience.
A focus on health
The Ganis believe that one of the problems when it comes to childhood obesity is that nobody is actively working to instil an appreciation for health into children from a young age – and only reacting to the problem once it has arrived, rather than actively working to prevent it.
Little Gladiators aims to change this, The 7 400 square foot facility is designed to offer everything and anything that may be found in an ‘adult’ gym, but all activities and facilities are designed to cater to the needs of children. The activities on offer include cardio, yoga, kickboxing, a high-tech interactive climbing wall, swimming and even a party area. The emphasis is on making exercise fun. There is even a kid’s Hamman – a sort of Moroccan bath concept with a Jasmine and Aladdin theme, where children can enjoy a full-body scrub and a massage. Virtual games are also part of the exercise process combining fun with activity – whether it is boxing on go cart racing.
Little Gladiators is situated at the prestigious Golden Mile Galleria Mall on the Palm Jumeirah and is designed to meet the high-tech needs of their client’s parents. Parents will receive digital updates on what activities their children have been involved in. From the moment the children walk in the door their every move is recorded and parents will receive regular emails to their phones and they’ll be able to track their progress.