Look through our picture list to discover ten fitness activities that are so fun, you’ll barely realise you’re breaking a sweat.
You may be surprised to hear that trampoline jumping offers countless health benefits. A recent study by Nasa found that 10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardiovascular workout than 33 minutes of running. And unlike jogging, trampolining provides your body with an all-round workout. Bounce, with locations in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall and Al Quoz in Dubai, offers wall-to-wall trampolines with heavy-duty padding – and it’s accessible to everyone from adrenaline junkies and air-sports athletes to parents and kids. Session prices start from Dh80, which also includes special bounce grip socks. Flip Out Dubai (FlipOutDubai on Facebook) has also just opened in Al Quoz, with 200 interconnected trampolines and 10 trampoline-based attractions.
Dancing may not feel much like exercise, but whether it’s ballet or ballroom, contemporary or cha-cha, dance offers a total-body workout using all of the major muscle groups and provides many heart-healthy benefits. Dancing burns body fat, increases balance and coordination and, because it’s a weight-bearing exercise, it also strengthens your bones. When it comes to classes, there are plenty of options in the region. Dubai Dance Academy offers a variety of ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and ballet-related fitness classes for all ages and abilities (from Dh90 per drop-in session), while James & Alex dance studio teaches ballet, ballroom, salsa, hip-hop and more, with drop-in classes beginning at Dh65. If you’re into Latin American styles of dance, check out the range of samba, salsa, merengue, rumba and more offered by Dance Abu Dhabi
Water park riding
Who knew that screaming your lungs out as you plunge down that 30-metre near-vertical water slide is actually good for you? Water park riding may not be an Olympic sport, but not only will the intense adrenaline rush leave you feeling excited and happy, you’ll also benefit from a core workout as your muscles tighten during all those thrilling twists and turn. And because it’s estimated that on a one-day visit, you’ll likely climb more than 800 steps and walk a few kilometres around the park, you’ll burn quite a few calories, too. Yas Waterworld‘s 45 rides, slides and attractions are designed to thrill both the young, and the young at heart, with entry starting from Dh240. Aquaventure, Dubai’s largest water park, has seven waterslides, a 2.3-kilometre river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white water chargers. Entry is Dh260 for adults.
It might just be time to saddle up because horse riding not only does wonders for your balance, coordination and stability, but will also give you thighs of steel, a super-strong core and glutes you could bounce coins off. Horse riding in the UAE has universal appeal, being popular with adults, children and even toddlers and from absolute beginners to keen riders wanting to perfect their skills. There are plenty of schools to choose from, including the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club (www.adec-web.com), with offerings from short pony rides for Dh40 to private lessons for Dh200. In Dubai, Mushrif Equestrian Centre offers 90-minute desert rides for experienced riders for Dh300 or 50-minute lessons for beginners for Dh250. And Dubai Polo Club offers group and individual riding lessons starting from Dh130.
There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as whizzing down a snowy slope on a pair of skis – and your body will thank you for it, too. It’s a great cardio workout, burning about 400 calories an hour – and it also strengthens your entire lower body, your joints and bones, while at the same time improving balance, flexibility and core strength. For experienced skiers, SkiDubai offers entry prices of Dh200, while introductory lessons for beginners start at Dh185. All equipment and gear is included in the price. Skiing can be a more challenging kind of fun though, so moderate levels of fitness are recommended.
You’ll enjoy more than just pumping adrenaline when you try wakeboarding, a blend of snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding that will have you riding the wake of a powerboat. You’ll also be burning 350 calories per hour – and because you’ll be flexing, resisting and holding positions while you go, you’ll also tone your arms, legs and abdominal and back muscles. The process of using your hands to hold the rope to perform air tricks requires strength, though, so you’ll need to be fit to take part. However, it appeals to those with an adventurous streak at a variety of ages. Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi offers individual boarding lessons starting at Dh300, which includes all your gear, while XtremeWake UAE provides boat rental, equipment and basic coaching from Dh550 for one hour.
It may look slightly tamer than a punishing 60-minute spin session at the gym, but an hour of skating is estimated to chew through more than 600 calories. It’s also a great way to trim the thighs, strengthen the quads and lift the glutes. Rollerblading is perfect for anyone looking for a low-impact aerobic activity that doesn’t shock their joints, and provided you’ve got good balance and coordination, there’s nothing to stop you strapping on a pair of rollerblades (plus helmet, elbowpads and kneepads) and making a beeline for your nearest skate park or promenade. Dubai Autodrome holds free weekly evenings of rollerblading every Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm on its 2.4-kilometre floodlit Club Circuit. Rollberblading is also permitted at Dubai’s Creek Park (entrance fee Dh5, women and children only on Wednesday).
For many people, the soothing sensation of weightlessness is reason enough to go diving, but it also offers a host of health and fitness benefits. Explore the underwater world and you’ll be giving yourself a great cardiovascular workout, while also developing your leg muscles as you move against the natural pressure of the water. And with little to no strain on the joints, it’s a safe, gentle form of exertion, which also induces a relaxed, calm state of mind that’s great for brain health. You’ll even strengthen the respiratory system as you adapt to using an oxygen tank for air. Emirates Divers Centre in Abu Dhabi offers introductory courses for anyone wanting to try diving without committing to a full course, though you’ll need basic swimming skills. At Al Boom Diving, you can do everything from an introductory pool dive (Dh150) to a four-day, open-water diving course (Dh2,350).
There’s a reason why a lot of surfers don’t look their age. Surfing stimulates the release of powerful endorphins that create a natural euphoria, and since a large part of surfing involves paddling, which is low-resistance, it also increases strength, flexibility and stamina. You’ll get a good core and upper-body workout, burning about 400 calories every hour and, over time, you’ll develop high levels of agility and balance, both increasingly essential as you age. Surf School Arabia in Sharjah offers a range of options, including an express lesson with a 15-minute tutorial and 60-minute board rental, for Dh75, while at Surf House Dubai you can rent out all the equipment you need for Dh75 for one hour.
You may not have heard of it (yet), but footgolf is the latest craze to hit the region. Combining two of the world’s most popular sports, football and golf, you’ll manoeuvre your way around the challenging ups and downs of the golf course (without the use of golf clubs) to score against your opponent. As you do, you’ll be burning calories, increasing your stamina, working your leg muscles and developing endurance. Combining the strategy and precision of golf with the skill and stamina of football, it’s a fitness-boosting experience for all ages. Currently running at the Address Montgomerie in Dubai, the price is Dh100 per person.
Source: art & life