For most of the year, Dubai provides al fresco living at its finest, making it easy to want to spend all of your time outside. Good news, then, that Dubai provides fitness fans with a huge range of healthy activities in the great outdoors.
Al Qudra Cycle Track
Whether you’re a passionate cyclist or a casual bike-rider, this extensive desert-bound track is one of the best in the emirate, and for good reason: it’s so beautiful that enthusiasts often recommend waking up to cycle here at sunrise or sunset. And with up to 100km of track, there’s more than enough space to enjoy the view and take in the surroundings. There are plenty of shops near the starting points along the track, where you can rent gear if you don’t have your own, and once you’re finished, you can refuel at restaurants such as The Cycle Bistro. The track is also part of the recently opened Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, the first unfenced reserve in the country which boasts more than 20 environmental, cultural, and sporting initiatives.
Surf House Dubai
Dubai is home to a vibrant and friendly surf community, not to mention regular waves that are particularly suited to beginners and intermediates. Head over to Surf House Dubai for everything you need, including lessons for all levels of experience and board rentals for those who already know what they’re doing and just want to get out there. Surf House has two outlets: the main HQ at Sunset Beach in Jumeirah, where you can follow up your surf session with a hearty and healthy meal at the in-house café, Single Fin, as well as at Nikki Beach Hotel, where the luxurious restaurants and stunning property will lure you into staying for hours post-surf. If the water is flat, both outlets also offer Stand Up Paddleboarding rentals and lessons.
Arguably one of Dubai’s most breath-taking natural attractions, Hatta Dam’s beautiful waters are set against the stunning backdrop of the Al Hajar Mountains. The rugged landscape is ideal for hiking, with plenty of trails suited for both casual hikers and more experienced ramblers, while water-lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to get out onto the dam’s beautifully calm waters. For this, you can rent a kayak or pedal-boat, before whiling away the hours soaking in Dubai’s majestic scenery.
Another great option for fitness lovers and adrenaline junkies is kitesurfing, which has become a popular sport in the emirate, where there’s even a beach – the aptly named Kite Beach – dedicated to the pastime along Jumeirah’s beautiful shoreline. Take a lesson with the likes of Dukite or Kite Zone Dubai, and when you’re finished, you can pop over to the food market at Kite Beach, or explore one of the many dining options tucked away amid the cool street art at recently opened beach destination La Mer.
Riding is a popular, and historically significant, sport in the Middle East, and there are plenty of stables in Dubai where you can take a lesson or book a ride. Al Jiyad Stables is a popular option, offering all equipment for rent, plus they cater for all levels, from beginners to more experienced riders. Many of the horses are ex-racing horses and highly coveted breeds, which is sure to delight equestrians and equine enthusiasts.
Dubai is a jogger’s paradise, with running tracks dissecting almost every district in the city. One of the most popular tracks is a 14km stretch along Dubai’s Jumeirah coastline; beginning at Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, this recently developed track crosses the newly opened Dubai Water Canal and runs all the way to Kite Beach before ending at the iconic Burj Al Arab. Another popular running spot is on Palm Jumeirah. There are two routes to choose from here: the 4km shoreline run, up and down the ‘trunk’, is more leisurely, while the 11km ‘crescent’ run along the outer edge of The Palm is a little more challenging. For more competitive runners, Dubai also offers a full season of races, including The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, Dubai Desert Road Run and the obstacle-filled Dubai Spartan Race.
Al fresco yoga is big in Dubai, with The Beach opposite JBR providing free morning classes, four days a week between October and May. Hotels such as The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort also get in on the outdoor yoga action by offering monthly classes coinciding with the full moon. Dubai also plays host to various yoga festivals, including XYoga’s Feel Yoga (16-18 March), which is offering a weekend of holistic outdoor yoga at Kite Beach, and Yoga Fest, taking place 15-17 November 2018. But there’s more coming, too – in the shape of dedicated yoga venues and events within the aforementioned Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.