Since moving to the UAE, my exercise game has been abysmal. Exercise is one of those things that I love to hate. I have come to accept it as my dear frenemy. Who would have thought one word could evoke such anxiety in a woman?
For a while, I guilt-tripped myself into appreciating and using the mini-gym in my apartment complex. As that guilt slowly waned, I convinced myself that my girl Jillian Michaels would suffice (albeit through DVD) as my very own personal trainer right in the comfort of my home. What was lacking in each of my trials, though, was real motivation. I thought the tightening of my jeans was motivation enough, but that just encouraged me to take advantage of the many malls in Abu Dhabi to engage in retail therapy to my heart’s desire. A little emotional shopping never hurt anyone, right?
As with all dear frenemies, you can only push them away for so long. This time, my husband made us re-connect. He secretly signed us up for the 10-week Get Driver Fit Challenge organized by Ya Salam. We got to attend 1-hour workout sessions every evening (for free!), with each day offering a new and intense workout. Craig, our wonderful trainer….if you by any miracle happen to be reading this blog, I still wince in agony when I remember your boot camp sessions. I never want to do a burpee or lunge for the rest of my life…
Okay, maybe I exaggerate… I have to be honest, boot camp was definitely worth the happiness that ensued from being able to fit into my clothes comfortably again. Aside from seeing the difference, and more importantly feeling the difference, the most significant thing I learned from the experience was that having a workout buddy is crucial! And what better buddy to have than your spouse? My husband and I both began to look forward to that time together to do something positive for our health. And to be honest, it was like going on fun mini-dates every night, bringing us closer together as we encouraged each other along the way and pushed each other to do our best.
A couple of activities we recently did to keep our momentum going are running along the Corniche or on the waterfront walkway near Marina Mall, and bouncing to our heart’s content at Bounce in Dubai. Weekdays on the Corniche are pretty chill and easy to navigate, but I must say the waterfront walkway near Marina Mall is truly a hidden gem. It is low key and you get a beautiful view of the Corniche from afar, Emirates Palace, and the new Presidential Palace.
If you are looking for something that gets your blood pumping more, then going to Bounce (www.bounce.ae), the largest indoor trampoline playground in the region, is definitely worth the drive to Dubai. We had a blast bouncing away while playing dodgeball, basketball, bouncing off walls, and diving into a giant foam pool. Tickets are 80 AED for one hour, and can be purchased online or on-site. Oh, and if you want nothing to do with a bouncing workout but happen to be looking for a unique venue for your child’s next birthday party? Bounce takes care of that too.
So I will say, it is true that one of the best ways to bond is to get your endorphins pumping together. If you can’t commit to a daily workout routine, try to find ways to exercise or get active together at least a couple of times during the week. The weather outside is especially gorgeous nowadays, so I definitely recommend taking advantage of that before we are relegated indoors by the heat!