Fewer than one in seven girls in the region take part in recommended sports for more than an hour, and with a lack of headwear for females who cover up, it might not be a surprising figure for some people.
But one mega sports brand is about to change all that with an upcoming release which helps take the burden away from working out. Nike has come up with a sports hijab in a lightweight and breathable fabric that stretches with even the most ambitious of movements. The polyester item contains a layer of holes so sweating doesn't become a huge problem and comes in XS/S and M/L sizes.
The neck area can often be a concern for hijab-wearers in the heat but Nike elongated the back and used fluff threads to prevent irritation from rubbing.
Despite it not being released until Spring 2018, Emirati figure skater, Zahri Lari, had the chance to try it and has fallen in love. "I was really hesitant when I first saw it," she said. "I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a hijab, but I've tried so many different hijabs for performance, and with how fast I spin on the ice and in training, so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the light weight."
Nike has been working on bringing the product to the market for a while now, with the issue of sports-unfriendly cultural wear becoming especially prominent to the mainstream when a hijabi runner appeared at the London Summer Olympics in 2012.
Amna Al Haddad, a UAE professional weightlifter, also helped bring attention to the idea when she explained how her shifting hijab while competing often caused her to lose focus.
We'll have to wait two years to get our hands on the Nike Pro Hijab but it's amazing to see how the athleisure industry is moving forward!