For many expats, moving to a new country represents a great opportunity to start anew – including getting fitter. Here are some good places to start article by Charlotte Beugge and Elizabeth Roberts for TheDailyTelegraph
Whether you’ve packed your racing spikes, cricket bat or boxing gloves in your luggage, there’s bound to be a sports club or gym in your new location where you can meet new people, as well as enjoying a workout.
In the Gulf states, the heat can be a challenge for the keep-fit keen expat, but if you go early in the morning it will be more bearable. In Dubai there are running tracks in the municipal parks such as Safa Park, which also has tennis and basketball courts and a boating lake. It’s a popular spot for casual games of cricket and football too.
If you’ve got the energy for something more than a jog around a park, Desert Road Runners is the oldest running club in Dubai. It’s a bit late to get in training for the annual Dubai Marathon, which is being held today (Jan 22), but there’s always next year.
You can even ski and snowboard in Dubai, believe it or not, thanks to Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, and other popular options include watersports and yoga – there’s a yoga festival being held in the city on February 19 and 20.
Golf, horse riding and rugby are also available in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai Exiles rugby club was first established in 1966. Here they are in action against the Dubai Wasps:
There are 20 golf courses in the UAE – the Emirates Golf Federation website has information. If you fancy cricket, the oldest cricket team in Dubai is the Darjeeling Cricket Club, established in 1969. Its members are mainly expats from England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
If you’re based in Oman, then Muscat Road Runners is a multinational group that gets together several times a week. There’s some useful advice on their website about how to run safely in hot destinations.
If you would rather be in an air-conditioned room, then there are plenty of gyms. Fitness First has 33 gyms in the United Arab Emirates including a new one on Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile. Fitness 360 has seven gyms across the UAE including ones in Fujairah and Al Ain.
If you’re an expat in the USA, the sporting and keep fit opportunities are endless. One popular option is hiking in national parks – there are 84 million acres to cover – which combines exercise and the opportunity to enjoy nature at its best. Or there are state parks, which boast 38,383 miles of trails.
If you prefer the treadmill to the hiking trail or would like to try one of America’s favourite sports such as baseball or basketball, then the websitegymsandfitnessclubs.com will help you find whatever you’re looking for across the USA.
Many expats cite the outdoors lifestyle enjoyed in Australia as a good reason to relocate Down Under. The website goodsports.com.au lists sports clubs by area, from kayaking to running. You’ll also find various types of football, from Aussie Rules (also known as AFL) to the style of game we’re more familiar with in Britain (known there as soccer) and even American gridiron.
One of the oldest running clubs in Australia is the New South Wales-based Kembla Joggers (www.kemblajoggers.org.au), which does fun runs, cross country and track running. While it seems a pity to train indoors when the weather’s good, the well-known international gyms have branches in Australia and New Zealand. If you fancy some beach-based activity,sasurfschools.com.au lets you find a surf school near to you.
France has less of a gym culture than some other expat hotspots. There are, however, private and public gyms: the website gymvisit.com could help. If you want to sail, the worldwide listings on the sail-clubs.com website are useful – there are hundreds of such clubs in France. For colder days, there are ample opportunities for skiers in the Alps and Pyrenees: see en.france-montagnes.com.
Meanwhile in Spain, cricket is popular in expat areas. Menorca Cricket Club, for example, was founded in 1985. Golf in Spain is well-established – golfinspain.com has information on courses and green fees.
As the second most mountainous country in Europe, there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, mountain biking and walking. Horse riding is popular – there are plenty of schools open to adults and children if you are keen to get into the saddle such as the Escuela de Arte Ecuestre on the Costa del Sol.
Whatever sporting activity you wish to embrace in Spain, the spain.info website offers suggestions that will help you keep fit in 2016.