UAE: Hate the gym? 8 fun ways to get moving, burn calories

A community-wide wellness programme offers an easy way for people to stay active and fit


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 21 Jan 2023, 4:32 PM

Last updated: Sat 21 Jan 2023, 4:37 PM

Some people love the gym. Some people don’t understand how anyone could love the gym. Some people try to love the gym every January, pledging to get fit but the vigour fizzles in a few weeks. If you fall into the second or third category, the local authorities have good news for you.

Abu Dhabi 360, a community-wide programme dedicated to whole-person wellness launched by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, is helping people stay active in their daily lives but in an easier way.

Here are eight unexpected and fun ways to get moving when ‘working out’ doesn’t appeal.

1. Shopping is a good exercise

How’s this for an unexpected workout? Shopping involves walking, lifting, carrying packages, and other movements. Pick up your pace to a power walk, and you could burn up to 250 calories in an hour. Make sure to walk at a pace that keeps your heart beating at a slightly faster rate than usual, and to carry your own packages – this will help increase the benefit of this ‘workout’.

2. Playing with children in the pool

Lather on some sunscreen and head to the pool or beach to splash around. You don’t need to swim laps to get your heart rate up – you just need to move your body. Jumping, splashing, treading water, throwing and catching a ball, carrying a child in the water, and climbing in and out of the pool are all good exercises. If you have a waterproof wearable device, check it after 30 minutes in the pool. Most of those minutes would get counted as exercise.

3. Visiting the park

Whether you’re going with kids or adults, a park visit is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while doing your heart a favour. Just walking is great exercise. Bump it up to a power walk to really get your heart pumping, or play a game of frisbee, catch, tag, or hide-and-seek to burn calories without even realising it. Don’t think about the exercise but think about how much fun you’re having. Your mind and body will thank you.

4. Gardening

Gardening involves sitting, squatting, pulling, digging, and carrying things, a better workout than you realise. Spending an hour in your garden tending to something beautiful or delicious is a significant investment in 360-degree wellness. Creating with your hands is good for the mind. Moving your body is good for the heart.

5. Stretching

The next time you’re experiencing that mid-afternoon slump, try standing or laying on the floor and doing some easy stretching of your arms, legs, neck, and back. It will feel great, wake you up, improve your blood circulation, and get your heart moving a little faster.

6. Dancing

Have a breakout ‘dance party’ with your kids or pets, or just crank up some music and get moving the next time you’re cleaning your house or doing laundry. Jumping, spinning, kicking, and moving your hips are all great ways to get your heart rate up. And before you know it could well become the new thing at your home.

7. Trampolining

Trampolining is a fantastic way to burn calories, fast, and while having a bundle of fun. You can take your kids to the trampoline park for the full experience or buy a mini rebounder to use at home and make your favourite TV show a workout. No need to sweat profusely to benefit from this one. A little movement is enough to get some good lift and increase your heart rate.

8. Walking the dog

File photo
File photo

Snap on a leash, get your pooch some exercise, and enjoy the sights around your neighbourhood. Try to stay off your phone and be present. You’ll see some things you’ve never noticed before.

The Abu Dhabi 360 app provides even more ideas for workouts – both typical and unexpected, and can help you track your movements, try something new, and set and meet fitness goals for 2023 and beyond. Abu Dhabi 360 will host events and activations that will integrate with the app, which can be downloaded at


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