Team Angel Wolf: Fitness is for all abilities, all ages, all families
For British family of four, the Watsons, getting active is more than walks on the beach or visits to the neighbourhood park. It’s taking part in triathlons: nine Half Ironman Triathlons, nine Olympic Triathlons, 17 Sprint Triathlons, 12 Duathlons and three Aquathlons, to be exact. And when that’s not keeping them busy, there’s the six open water swim events, 14 cycle events, 52 running events, seven obstacle races, four stair climbs and a Ski Dubai hike/run challenge.
Impressed? Try doing all this while physically supporting another person, as 48-year-old Nick does with his son Rio, 15, a wheelchair user. Nick is co-founder, along with wife Delphine, of #TeamAngelWolf (#TAW), a non-profit organisation that spreads awareness of the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community, as well as inspiring people to embrace health, fitness and teamwork.
Spreading the mission of active living
Rio, who has a rare chromosome disorder called 1q44 Deletion DeNovo Syndrome, causing multiple disabilities, is the inspiration behind #TeamAngelWolf. In an attempt to spread the word, the family, including daughter Tia, 11, have covered a total distance of 4,387km of swimming, running and cycling: which is the equivalent distance from Dubai to Rome. Now, Nick, who has lived in Dubai for over 20 years, hopes to spread Dubai Fitness Challenge’s mission of active living.
“The Challenge is an incredible initiative,” says Nick. “Very creative, yet so simple, making it achievable for everyone to get on board and take part. The statistics of heart disease and obesity do concern me, so a campaign such as this gives me true hope for change. I love how it embraces all of our community; whatever your age, gender, ability, religion, nationality, we are all included. And it’s a wonderful opportunity for families to bond and do the challenge together.”
The former British Royal Marine, personal trainer and sports therapist feels DFC and #TAW are very much aligned: “We both share a goal to get the whole community, whatever their ability, moving and healthy. DFC has so many wonderful initiatives and events to motivate community and make it feasible to achieve our goals.”
A family affair
For a family that spends so much time participating in sporting events together, he knows the importance of getting children into a healthy routine.
“Exercising as a family is a time to bond, unite and motivate each other,” he explains. “Exercise at an early age builds the foundation of fundamental life skills on so many levels. It teaches children to embrace their health, which in turn helps prevent some health problems later in life. It helps with socialisation, working as a team, learning to connect and listen to their own body. With the stresses and pressures that children face in life, exercise can teach them a healthy option of distraction and stress release.”
And Nick believes that children are very keen to take up fitness if they’re given the opportunity: “We’ve spoken to over 45,000 children over the years, and receive many private messages from parents saying their children have been very inspired and want to race with us, or have motivated their own family to go for a jog on the beach together.”
Nick answers our quick-fire questions:
Cardio or weights? Cardio
Big breakfast or big dinner? Big breakfast
Long run or quick sprints? Long runs
Favourite food? Vegan food!
Favourite exercise or sport? Triathlon
Favourite part of Dubai? Jumeirah and The Sustainable City
Tell us one things we might not know about you? 3.5 years ago I had a large tumour removed;
this was my motivation to make change and my perception on life priorities.
What are you most grateful for? My family
One thing you couldn’t live without: My family
One line to motivate people: Look at what we do and why, anything is possible, never give
up: together we can!
Why should people be part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge? There are no excuses… it is simple, achievable, fun and important to do!