10 Ways to Get Fit in the UAE
We check out the celeb-inspired exercises you can do right here in the UAE!
1 On your bike: Heidi Klum gets about on two wheels and you can too. It’s never been easier to explore Dubai by way of bike. Several cycle tracks have recently been completed across the city, including a 23km route along Jumeirah Beach Road, a 1.6km one starting at Mall of the Emirates metro station and a 3km circuit in Al Warqa’a. Already popular among Dubai’s biking community is the 67km track from Arabian Ranches to Bab Al Shams, and don’t forget Meydan Cycle Park, which features 4km, 6km and 8km routes. And not owning a bike is no excuse – they’re now available for hire in both Dubai Marina and Downtown courtesy of Nextbike. Simply book and pay online, then head to the nearest bike station and take to the saddle.
INFO: From Dhs15 for 30 minutes to Dhs80 for 24 hours, www.bykystations.com
2 Kayak in the Mangroves: Ahlan!’s Kerry goes kayaking and loves it! Shielded by skyscrapers and within earshot of busy traffic, a fragile mangrove forest lies metres off the capital’s coast. A vital component of the region’s ecosystem, this hidden gem is a nesting ground for hundreds of birds. Put on a sun hat and explore this maze of channels on a leisurely two-hour kayak trip run by Sea Hawk Water Sports.
INFO: Dhs150 (adults), Dhs100 (ages three-12), Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, 02 673 6688, www.sea-hawk.ae
3 Get PaddleFIT: Model Bar Refaeli gets on board! The latest craze to hit our shores is PaddleFit, a fast-paced circuit-style beach workout combined with all the fun of stand-up paddleboarding. It’s an intense full-body workout, and you’ll have to use every muscle to stay afloat and propel yourself through the water. Featuring 50 squat thrusts, 30 push-ups, sit-ups and some muscle crunching lunges, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but the good news is that you’ll burn up to 900 calories!
INFO: Dhs100 per session, 6am (Tue), hourly from 6am-9am (Fri), Black Palace Beach (between Burj Al Arab and The Palm Jumeirah), Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/OceanmanUAE
© ITP Images
5 Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Kitesurfing is so popular in Dubai that there’s even a beach nicknamed after the sport. Don your harness, catch the wind, skim the surface of the water and even brave the odd jump as you try your hand at this extreme sport. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, as Kitesurfing UAE offers three-hour introductory lessons in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
INFO: From Dhs150 for a three-hour lesson (minimum four people), daily, Dubai: Jumeirah 3, behind Sunset Mall, 050 600 1151, Abu Dhabi: Yas Island West, 050 562 6383, www.kitsurfinguae.com
4 Keep on Running: Julianne Hough pounds the streets and you should too! Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is on 24 January, so if you’re taking part and haven’t already started training it’s now or never. While the event website lists various fitness programmes, Dubai Road Runners enables you to team up with fellow athletes to get in shape beforehand, whether you’re joining the marathon or the 10k race. The group runs at Al Safa Park every Saturday at 6.30pm, as well as meeting for interval training at Al Barsha Park throughout the week.
INFO: Marathon entry: Dhs440, 10k entry: Dhs220, 7am, Fri, 24 Jan, www.dubaimarathon.org, www.dubairoadrunners.com
6 Take to the Saddle: Fancy galloping across the desert on a stallion as the sun sets behind the dunes? Exchange the hustle and bustle of city life for the sound of sand crunching beneath a horse’s hooves – this is nature at its best. Kaley Cuoco horses around, as you can see! Experienced riders can join the regular Desert Hacks astride one of the prize horses at the Emirates Equestrian Centre, while those who aren’t yet members of the horsey fraternity can sign up for lessons. Go on, giddy up!
INFO: Dhs250 per person for a 90-minute desert hack session, 8am and 4pm, Sun-Tue and Thu, Dhs165 for a one-hour riding lesson, Emirates Equestrian Centre, next to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, 050 558 7656, www.emiratesequestriancentre.com
© Alessandro Masini/WENN.com/WENN.com
7 Get Ready to Set Sail: Naomi Campbell sails away and we can see why! Back for its second season, the Ras Al Khaimah Sailing Academy is raring to take you out to sea. Whether you’re a novice or a senior sailor wanting to perfect your skills, the school has classes for all ages and abilities. Its expert instructors will have you navigating the waves in no time. All aboard!
INFO: From Dhs285 per session (daily), Al Hamra Marina and Yacht Club, Ras Al Khaimah, 055 297 5792, www.raksailingacademy.com
© (): WENN.com
8 Off to Bootcamp: What do they say about no pain? With Ignite’s military-style bootcamps, the end result is definitely one that’ll see you ‘gain’ – stamina, fitness and hopefully a toned and sculpted beach body. Its four-week courses are held in various locations in Dubai, all in the great outdoors. The beach workouts incorporate swimming races and sprints, and we all know how hard it is to run on soft sand! The instructors take no prisoners, but the good news is that sessions start at 6am, leaving you free to eat cake for the rest of the day! Matthew McConaughey’s a bootcamper, enough said!
INFO: From Dhs100 per session, Dhs800 for 16 sessions, locations include The Shack gym on KiteSurf Beach, The Palm, Jumeirah and Al Safa Park, 04 448 7142, www.ignite-wellness.com
© ITP Images
9 Walking with flower power: One of the most colourful places for a stroll this winter has to be Dubai’s Miracle Garden. Reopened for its second season, this haven of more than 45 million flowers looks blooming amazing! It’s spread over 72,000 square metres – more than enough space to stretch your legs – and features fabulous displays of colourful flora fashioned into hearts, stars, igloos, pyramids and more. We love the Aromatic Garden, where you can pick ingredients for a cup of fresh herbal tea. Don’t miss the 15m clock made of real plants and flowers – its appearance changes according to the climate!
INFO: Dhs20, under-fours free, Al Barsha South 3, 04 442 8902, www.dubaimiraclegarden.com
© 2014 AFP
10 Anyone for tennis?: Play tennis with the pros! The tennis courts of Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi host the likes of Federer and Djokovic during the annual Mubadala World Tennis Championships, and now you, too, can grace this hallowed turf. As well as the stadium, there are nine outdoor hard-surface courts. You can either have a knockabout with your mates or take a lesson with a highly qualified coach. Your serve!
INFO: From Dhs120 per lesson, court hire from Dhs20 per hour, 6am-11pm daily, Zayed Sports City, Airport Road, Abu Dhabi, 02 403 4222, www.zsc.ae