If you’re sticking around for the summer and looking for ways to keep fit while keeping extra cool, don’t rule out the pool.
Aside from the fact that all the best hotels currently have some bargain health club access passes for the next few months, we’re not just suggesting swimming lap after tedious lap. In fact, tons of your favourite classes have been clever enough to resort to the pool, from spin classes to circuit training as well. And if you’re feeling stressed, aqua therapy is always an option.
If you’re ready to test-drive your new swimwear, these activities guarantee to help you beat the heat as well as the boredom.
Take your love for Latin dancercise to the pool thanks to select Fitness First gyms. A low-impact option for the joints (due to water resistance), you’ll groove to classic Zumba moves without realising that you’re working out harder than on land.
Stretch, twist, strengthen core muscles, and increase your muscle tone and endurance levels all while having fun. They don’t call Zumba a fitness party for nothing.
Just in time to combat the heat, this is Fairmont’s new fun and interactive underwater biking class. Held at the North Residence Pool of the resort, it uses stationary bicycles specially made to be submerged in water.
Participants, partially submerged, can pedal using the water’s resistance in order to exercise.
These guys kicked off the in-water training trend in 2013 and their entire facility is based around various fun and challenging forms of pool-based fitness.
You can hop on a submerged bike during one of their aquabiking classes, or really rev up your cardio and endurance levels in a circuit training-style session in the water that incorporates the bike, an aqua-trampoline and light weights for boxing drills.
There’s even a highly choreographed class called Aquaswing that mixes resistance-heavy dance moves and biking. All sessions are ladies only for no more than 10 people so you really have space to roam in the pool.
A post-fitness watsu session is also offered at L’Atelier Aquafitness. Also called aquatic shiatsu, this alternative massage technique involves manual pressure applied to specific points on the body in an attempt to relieve tension and pain.
While you’re floating and being cradled in the water, a therapist is working with you one on one to improve joint mobilisation and muscle stretching. You’ll decrease stress and heart rate levels, and even improve flexibility, digestion and sleep.
Aquatic or floatation therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, and even physical and mental rehabilitation.
Don’t have a pool and looking for some medical-grade downtime in the water? Then we highly recommend booking a cabin or pod at Zero Points’ centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Filled with a super-saturated salt solution that allows you to lie back and bob up and down on the water’s surface, these vessels lock out external stimuli and feature light therapy and peaceful music to help you quiet the mind and calm the nervous system. Some people even fall asleep.
It is an intense experience, being locked in like that, but a highly soothing one in the long run.
Cobra’s range of fitness classes has really blown up in the past year and now incorporates use of a cosy outdoor pool on site in Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi.
Don’t be fooled though – much like the rest of their classes, this 45-minute session is a tough full body toning knockout. After a heavy boxing, Spin or HIIT session, this is a great way to cool down and stretch while easing off on joints and tired muscles, too.
Dubai Sports City’s epic, sprawling, multi-purpose sport and fitness centre is more than well equipped for adults and young ones serious about aquatics and swim fitness.
Eight 50-metre lanes cater for various pool programmes geared towards professionals, amateurs and newcomers who want to learn how to swim or even take part in triathlons and other swim sports.
The swim fitness classes are pretty tough though, seeing swimmers cover around a total of 2 to 2.5km during various drills and sprints. Classes often include aids like fins to better your technique, strength, endurance and lung capacity, as well as generally tighten everything up. You will be buff and bikini ready in no time.
The beginning of Ramadan is no reason to park your fitness regime.
Experts are of the opinion that exercise and fasting can go hand in hand, meaning you can still hit the gym in the coming weeks.
Here, senior fitness manager Trevor Flowers of Fitness First Motor City offers his guidance.
Train to maintain
During Ramadan, it is advised to plan your training with the goal of maintaining your fitness level.
When putting your body into a fasted state you will most certainly deplete your energy stores, which means you will be running on
empty. With that in mind, keep your sets and reps consistent, without pushing yourself to your limit.
In this period, try to keep your fitness ticking over, rather than attempting to break new personal bests or records.
Train when it’s right for you
Going hours without food and drink will put you into a fatigued state, effecting your energy levels, mood and focus.
Make sure to adjust your training schedule to whatever suits you. We are all different, and have different times of the day where we feel low in energy.
Training with low energy and a lack of focus means you are more likely to skip your session, or only put in half the effort. If this is the case, train after you have broken your fast, so that you have 100 per cent focus on your sessions.
If you plan to train in a fasted state, be sure to adjust your workout intensity to suit your energy levels.
Consider reducing your training volume and working sets. Avoid high intensity training, or max
effort lifts. Instead of going for heavy strength based training,
reduce your loads and use time under tension to stimulate your muscle in a safer way.
Fitness and health is one of the top priorities for Abu Dhabi’s 2020 vision, and the trio behind #theADmovement is marching right alongside the nation in support, wielding a flag for ladies in the emirate.
Founded by three passionate fitness and nutrition experts, Emiratis Abeer Amiri and Sarah Al Nowais, and Kristin Anderson of the US, #theADmovement is a females-only fitness initiative that has been working quite hard over the past year to find fun and interactive ways for Abu Dhabi women to get together and keep active all across the city, with successful past pop-up events drawing huge numbers of happy faces to work up a sweat.
This year they’re kicking off an exclusive new four-part wellness series along the same lines called Fit & Flourish, within which they will team up with several well-respected studios, experts and nutritional brands in the local fitness community to continue to educate girls and women about holistic healthy living.
We can’t wait for the launch this June 1 – a collaboration between Abu Dhabi’s most passionate yoga, Pilates and dance studio, Bodytree, Reebok and GuavaPass Middle East, and Suzan Terzian, a nutritionist who will lead an intimate table discussion on vitality and weight management to close off what will be a chilled, fit-focused evening social.
Come dressed in your favourite comfy yoga wear because, before the healthy four-course vegetarian Iftar that will be offered by Bodytree’s Nectar Café, comes the hard work – you’ll earn it on the mat during a 90-minute Yin Yoga session led by fit yogi Angela Muller-Habig.
Fasting? Not to worry. Yin Yoga is designed to challenge you, but in the slowest and most soothing way possible. A combination of gently flowing asana and deeper held yin stretches, this style is a relaxing way to open up the whole body while giving some extra love to hips, shoulders and spine. Holding the postures for a longer period of time helps increase circulation in the joints and improves flexibility.
Once mats are rolled up (and there are mats at the studio if you don’t have your own), enjoy your clean, green dinner with a motivational talk and Q&A with Terzian. She is a Canadian nutritionist with over 15 years of professional experience, now based in the UAE. Through her private consultancy (now also offered at Bodytree), Suzan works with you to co-create a bespoke journey to transform your dietary thoughts and habits into a successful, healthy future; and she admittedly doesn’t come cheap. So this is your exclusive chance to ask her all your burning nutritional questions.
You might even go home with some surprise Reebok and GuavaPass giveaways at the launch alongside a feeling of complete ease and enlightenment, of course.
GuavaPass is making ripples in the capital since launching in February and teaming up with beloved studios like Bodytree, too, and the app is another great forum that’s been bringing girls together for group fitness in Abu Dhabi.
If you end up loving the evening’s Yin session, their amazingly diverse offering of this and other styles of yoga classes around the city could really help you kick-start a more dedicated yoga practice.
Additionally, their many other partner studios offer dozens more higher energy exercise options that you can grab the crew and go to to keep this healthy lifestyle ball rolling throughout Ramadan. Visit www.guavapass.com/go/welcome/abu-dhabi for more information on the bargain discount starter packages available this month.
All in all, this will be a wonderful, well-rounded evening on which you can truly take the time to reflect on your personal health and wellness goals and weaknesses, and see how you can improve on them and incorporate others into daily life during the Holy Month and beyond.
That being said, only 20 spaces are available for this special launch event, so hurry and grab those tickets now for you and your girlfriends.
WHAT: #theADmovement’s FIT & FLOURISH Series
WHEN: Commences Thursday, June 1, 17:00 to 21:00, 17:30 to 19:00: 90-minute Yin Yoga led by Angela Muller-Habig 19:15 to 20:45: Healthy Iftar by Nectar & nutrition discussion with Suzan Terzian
WHERE: Bodytree Studio (Corner of Hazza Bin Zayed and Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, Abu Dhabi)
COST: Dh160 per lady (only 20 spots available)