LUMS Community Welcomes Special Guests, Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi and Muhammad Hafeez, to Health and Safety Hour
On Friday, November 20, the ninth session of LUMS Health and Safety Hour with Dr. Samia Altaf welcomed star cricketer, Muhammad Hafeez, and world-renowned tennis player, Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi. The session was moderated by Adeel Hashmi and also had Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS, Ms. Ayman Irfan, General Secretary, Sports at LUMS (SLUMS) and Dr. Samia Altaf, Professor of Practice of Public Health and Director Health and Safety, LUMS, on the panel.
The session began with the guests sharing how they adapted during the lockdown months. Both Mr. Hafeez and Mr. Qureshi acknowledged that being sportsmen helped them look at the circumstances with a degree of positivity. “The first three months (of lockdown) were very very difficult. But as a sportsman, I’ve learnt to look at difficulties as opportunities, make the most of it and find a solution. So I started doing a lot of online home training regimes. And made sure my family also joined me,” shared Mr. Qureshi.
Mr. Hafeez also turned to new activities during the time when gyms and cricket academies closed, “I kept myself fit with whatever equipment was available in the house. I also started road running; something I hadn’t done before and started bicycling with my kids and wife.”
Even at LUMS, societies had to find innovative solutions due to the lockdown. Sports at LUMS had to come up with creative ways to promote sports and physical activity in the student body. “We began a podcast series and we called it Saturdays with SLUMS. Alternatively, every Saturday we would post an episode. It has had two editions so far.”
Now that many of the sports facilities at LUMS are open for students from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Dr. Samia Altaf encouraged students to make the best of this opportunity, “I’m a firm believer in exercise being a big stress reducer. There’s a lot of research that says that exercise is the cure to a lot of diseases. I think what LUMS is doing is quite exemplary in that they have organised sports and facilities, with proper SOPs, and they are accessible to the students now.”
Dr. Arshad Ahmad advised students to not look at physical activity as a chore and choose an activity that they like, “Make it a routine, make it a habit. You don’t have to do something that isn’t fun. It should be something you enjoy.”
During the session, Dr. Ahmad also highlighted the importance of colleges and universities prioritising sports and physical activity amongst students by making them a mandatory part of the educational experience, “We need to raise the bar for physical education. We can keep talking about it, but what do we do to institutionalise it so that it is not regarded as a hurdle but something normal? Everyone should invest a few hours in sports and we should take pride in that.”
Mr. Hafeez appreciated Dr. Ahmad’s sentiment of developing a sports culture at the institutional level. “Unfortunately we’ve developed our societies, but we haven’t developed healthy regimes. You should definitely get an A+ but you should also have your health. I think the sooner our educational institutes can add more to the physical activities available to the students, the better it will be for Pakistan and the next generation.”
To incorporate physical activity in our lives Mr. Qureshi shared excellent advice, “I think the most important thing is setting goals for both your personal and professional life, to make yourself better as a person, to make yourself better as a human being. You have to keep finding ways to push yourself. I think everyone should put in half an hour or an hour in their schedule or timetable, which is blocked for physical activity no matter what happens.”
You can watch the complete session here.