The GCC's 20 Best Outdoor Workouts

Step outside and burn some serious calories this winter

Messing About In The Mangroves
Escape the city for a day and enjoy some quality time outdoors, kayaking around Abu Dhabi’s mangrove swamps. It’s a great way to burn a few extra calories on a cool winter’s morning and you’ll spot birds and wildlife you’d never see elsewhere in the UAE (exploretours. ae). One hour of kayaking burns 360 calories

Dive In, Chill-Out
Fed-up with the beach and fancy exploring another world for a few hours? Grab your gear and go diving. Head out to Fujairah or Oman for a day at sea or sign-up for lessons and become PADI qualified. Try Al Boom Diving for lessons (alboomdiving. com). One hour of diving burns 490 calories

Explore Snoopy Island
Swim out to Snoopy Island in Fujairah for some of the prettiest snorkelling spots in the UAE. Spot parrot fish, clown fish and lots of beautiful corals. Hit Sandy Beach hotel (sandybm com) to hire equipment or stay overnight and make a weekend of it. One hour of snorkelling burns 435 calories

Rock-On Outdoors
If you love to climb, but the indoor spots aren’t doing it for you, sign up for one of Dubai Climbing’s outdoor courses (climbingdubai.com). You can even join one of their International Climbing Expeditions, once you’re feeling up to it. One hour of rock climbing burns 774 calories

Try Dune Bashing
If we’ve got plenty of one-thing in the UAE, it’s sand. So make the most of it. Dune bashing doesn’t just need to be something to do when you’ve got visitors in town, get a group together and head to Liwa Oasis, one of the UAE’s top spots (arabiantours.com). One hour of dune bashing burns 210 calories

Join The Dubai Cycle Challenge
If you want to get on your bike and up your fitness at the same time, why not get involved in the Spinneys Cycle Challenge? The 92km route hits town on 10 December so now’s the time to sign-up if you want to get involved (cyclechallenge.ae). One hour of fast cycling burns 944 calories

Go Rowing On Dubai Creek
You can always find somewhere to row in Dubai, even in the summer. The biggest group meet at Dubai Creek on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sunrise and sunset and lessons are available for Dhs120 if it’s your first time. Call Monty, of Monty’s Rowing School on 050 738 0910 for more details. One hour of moderate rowing burns 493 calories

Strike A Pose In The Park
It’s not difficult to find a yoga class in the UAE, but the outdoor ones are a little bit trickier to track down. We like the one at Safa Park in Dubai with Core Direction. Classes run every Sunday and Wednesday at 9am and every Monday and Wednesday at 7pm. It’s Dhs500 for 10 classes and they’re valid for three months from date of purchase (coredirection. com). One hour of Hatha yoga burns 281 calories

Serve Up Some Beach Volleyball
Hit the beach, and incorporate some covert exercise while you’re at it, with a couple of hours of beach volleyball. Sign-up now then join the team at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi (www duplays.com). One hour of beach volleyball burns 211 calories

Hustle A Game Of Basketball
If you like to keep your exercise regime varied, throw a bit of basketball into the mix. If you fancy a bit of freestyle action, you can play year-round on the courts in Satwa, just be prepared to hustle for your spot. If you’d prefer a more formal set-up, and maybe a few lessons, check out the Basketball Academy Dubai (badubai.com). One hour of basketball burns 563 calories

Join The Surfing Crowd
If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor pursuit to try in Dubai, surfing is it. It’s the perfect place to learn from scratch or indulge a life-long passion. Keep an eye on Surf Dubai for the latest news and information on lessons (surfingdubai. com). One hour of surfing burns 211 calories

Hit The Beach For Windsurfing Lessons
If surfing’s not your bag, but you love splashing about in the sea, windsurfing could be for you. We’re spoilt for choice in Dubai but if you’re looking for equipment hire and lessons, head down to Nautica, on the beach near The Habtoor Grand (www. nautica1992.ae). What’s more, you can bag a fantastic tan at the same time. One hour of windsurfing burns 310 calories

Water Skiing
If you’re looking for a day in the outdoors, and some serious legstrengthening action to boot, water skiing
is in order. If you’re not lucky enough to have a friend with a boat, head down to the Sheraton Jumeirah
Beach Resort. Give them a call on (04) 399 5533 for more details or to book a lesson. One hour of water skiing burns 422 calories

Paddle Boarding
This is the outdoor sport to try if surfing’s a bit lively for you. Plus, it’s amazing exercise - Jennifer Aniston loves it. Grab a lesson at Surf Dubai for Dhs400 if you’re flying solo or Dhs350 per person for a couple’s lesson. (surfingdubai.com). One hour of paddleboarding burns 460 calories

Dhow Cruise Around The Musandam
If you fancy doing something different with your weekend, and enjoying the great outdoors at the same time, hit Oman for a Musandam dhow trip (www. msaoman.com). You can do a day trip, stay overnight, or spend two nights exploring and, if you’re lucky, you might see a dolphin or two. Plus, you can keep fit with a dip in the sea. One hour treading water in the  sea burns 173 calories

Go-Karting In Dubai
Hit Dubai Autodrome with the girls for a fun day whizzing about in the sun (dubaiautodrome.com). The Autodome can organize a full day package, including lunch, for groups and they cater to all levels of driver, so don’t worry if you’ve left your girl-racing days behind you. One hour go-karting burns 125 calories

Horse Riding At Jebel Ali
Hit Jebel Ali for a day of horse riding, or a lesson, if your skills are a bit rusty (jebelali international.com). The fully air-conditioned stables are some of the best in Dubai and it’s a fantastic work-out for those abs, if the gym’s not tempting you. One hour of horse-riding burns 281 calories

An Afternoon On The Golf Course
It’s not the cheapest of sports, but it makes for a fun afternoon leg-stretch if you’re feeling in need of some fresh air. The UAE is home to more golf courses than you can shake a club at, check out dubaigolf.info for more class information and prices. One hour of golf burns 280 calories

A Hatta Mountain Safari
Escape the city for a day of exploring in the Hajar Mountains. After a hard day on the road, you can take a dip in the Hatta Pools or stay overnight if you can’t face the drive home. It’s holiday and exercise, rolled into one. It’s the perfect antidote to city life (alphatoursdubai. com). One hour’s walking burns 300 calories

Go Old-School With A Day At Wowrak
Sometimes, you just want some plain old fun. It’s times like these that WowRak should be your destination of choice. Head out to RAK and dive in. You can even throw in some swimming, while you’re there, if you’ve missed your work-out and are feeling a bit guilty about it (icelandwaterpark.com). One hour of light swimming burns 500 calories.