Here’s How Dubai Is Trying to Be the “Most Active City in the World”

Fitness Challenge accepted in Dubai
Fitness Challenge accepted in Dubai | © alfonso venzuela / Flickr
Photo of Jessica Harn
23 October 2017

Dubai isn’t just a city of shopping, fancy brunches, and pearls. It’s becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with scores of new expats, skyscrapers, and the tallest and biggest of everything. In addition to this, Dubai is rebranding itself as a friendly place for health-conscious and exercise-loving people, creating new activities and green spaces (despite being in the middle of a desert) to become the “most active city in the world.”

On October 20, 2017, the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced to the people of Dubai that he was offering a Dubai Fitness Challenge, hoping to get people committed to at least 30 minutes of exercise per day for the next 30 days. Considering that Dubai has a growing number of exciting places to work out, numerous Dubai residents have already accepted this challenge with great enthusiasm.

Getting active in Dubai! | © alfonso venzuela / Flickr

For example, check out the free yoga classes at Marasi Business Bay—an effort by this area of Dubai to encourage both physical and mental well-being. You can join in for either regular yoga classes or Swing Yoga; either way, you’ll be enjoying a new way to work out for free. If looking for something new or if yoga isn’t your thing, then head to the Adventura: the Nature Adventure Park, located in Mushrif Park Dubai. Typical of the city, this enormous park is big enough for a king’s army. From obstacle courses to zip lining, from rope climbing to the 25-meter-tall (82 feet) “Tarzan Jump,” this Adventure Park will easily take up your daily goal of 30 minutes of exercise, if not more.

There is also Safa Park in Dubai, which offers more than 20 different activities for a variety of fitness levels. From table tennis to rock climbing, Safa Park is one of the most popular places to go to for a day of physical activity and fun. And for those who would rather enjoy alone time while exercising, you can ride a bike along Dubai’s new cycling-friendly roads and parks, including Mamzar Park, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai Marina, and Business Bay, which all have safe and designated bike lanes (for those who don’t mind the outside weather).

Braving the heat of the desert on a bike | © Peter Dowley / Flickr

For those who love swimming, Dubai, which lies along the sea, has made an enormous effort to create safe and exciting places to swim and enjoy the water so that you can have another option for your daily workout. If swimming in the open sea sounds good, head to Jumeirah Beach; from its clear waters to attentive lifeguards, you’ll feel safe while enjoying the thrill of exercising in nature.

Dubai also boasts both the Aquaventure Waterpark and the Wild Wadi Waterpark, which both feature many water-related activities for family and friends to enjoy. The Aquaventure Waterpark sits in Atlantis the Palm in Dubai and features huge swimming pools, slides, zip lines through a (controlled) shark-filled lagoon, and a bright kid’s area in the water. The Wild Wadi Waterpark lies next to Jumeirah Beach and is a large outdoor area with swimming, slides, surfing machines, and wave pools. Choosing which waterpark to go to will be impossible—so why not go to both to get in your splashing 30 minutes of exercise?

One of the many pools in Dubai's Wild Wadi Waterpark | © sarah_ackerman / Flickr

Dubai is an impressive city, due to its skyscrapers and richly decorated shopping malls, but the image of this is changing as the city brings to light its vibrant, active side. From its adventure and waterparks to its beaches and safe bike parks, Dubai offers an enormous variety of ways to exercise, so join in the challenge. You’ll forget that you’re even working out with all the fun choices!

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