IJN club shows its way of helping the heart stay healthy

Fit and trim: The IJN Cycling Club believes in promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy heart through the sport.

KUALA LUMPUR: Cycling is an increasingly popular sport in Malaysia.

The number of cycling clubs and teams, as well as the number of people joining these groups, has been steadily increasing. Several corporations and organisations in town have even set up their own cycling club, including the National Heart Institute (IJN).

“The IJN Cycling Club was set up five years ago to promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy heart through cycling,” said IJN Cycling Club captain Azran Ahmad.

Azran, 40, a senior exercise physiologist at IJN, said the club was started by its CEO Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub, who is an avid cyclist.

“It’s a pioneer cycling club in the country’s healthcare industry,” he said.

“We desire to establish IJN not just as the place to go to when one has health issues, but rather as an advocate of heart healthcare.”

The IJN cycling club comprises over 30 active members between the ages of 25 and 60.

They include the chief executive officer, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, physio­therapists, cardiovascular technicians, operating theatre staff, cardiac angiographers and corporate staff.

“We have cyclists of all levels – purists, experts, novices (intermediate), and beginners,” said Azran.

The club organises weekly weekend rides and races. Members are informed of the events through group chat and e-mail. There are also overseas cycling trips and annual cycling convoy events and community outreach programmes twice a year to raise awareness about the importance of being active to reduce the risk of heart disease, and to raise funds for the IJN Foundation.

“Our annual cycling convoy is a collaboration with IJN Foundation,” he said.

In 2015, he said they rode from their centre here to Fraser’s Hill, Kuala Kubu Baru, Teluk Intan, Lumut, Taiping, Penang, Gunung Jerai, Alor Setar, Kuala Kedah and Langkawi, covering a distance of 1,000km.

Last last year, they rode from IJN to Temerloh, Pekan, Mersing, Danga Bay, Singapore, Muar, Bagan Lalang, Putrajaya and back to IJN, covering a distance of 1,300km.

“Early this year, we rode from Batu Feringghi in Penang, to Kupang and Baling in Kedah, to Gerik, Tasik Banding and Kuala Kangsar in Perak, covering a distance of 360km,” said Azran, who started serious cycling 16 years ago when he was working in England.

The IJN cycling club has also covered the French Alps.

“The trip was led by our CEO. There were 12 of us. We managed to complete 11 climbs during the seven-day trip,” he said, adding that this was something that they would che­rish for a long time.

Azran, who owns three bicycles and enjoys century rides, criterium racing and bike touring, said that being on the road brings a sense of freedom and the feeling of being in perfect harmony.

“A bicycle is such a simple vehicle yet it can take me any place I want to go to,” he said.

He felt that cycling and Ride for Malaysia were a good way to instil positive values in Malaysians about staying healthy, being united, and working together as a team.

Ride for Malaysia is hosted by Star Media Group and property developer Sunsuria Bhd. The event will be flagged off at 6.30am at Sunsuria City on July 30.

For more information and to register, go to sites.thestar.com.my/rideformalaysia/.

For group bookings, call 03-7967 1388 and ask for Events.

  • Ride for Malaysia will flag off at 6.30 am on July 30 at Sunsuria City. There is a Fun Ride of 30km and a Family Ride of 5.5km. For more info and registration see: http://sites.thestar.com.my/rideformalaysia
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