Providing an invigorating burst of fresh air and beautiful views, running or walking the many gorgeous pedestrian-friendly routes of the UAE capital is therapeutic for both the body and soul. The weather has cooled and now our excuse that ‘it’s too hot to exercise outside’ doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
So, get ready to skip the gym and check out these picturesque routes instead.
Al Maryah Island
Head down towards the water from the Galleria and take in the bright lights of Downtown Abu Dhabi as you loop the city’s most glamorous mall and the surrounding luxurious hotels. Another brilliant, purpose-made path for both fitness fanatics and those visiting the area’s many restaurants, the proximity to the water provides a cool and welcome breeze as you sweat out the stresses of your day. Once you’ve circled this flashy island you can always extend your jog by crossing one of the bridges back into the city centre, or by heading over to Reem Island.
Al Raha Beach
Running around a residential area might not seem as exciting as the likes of Yas Marina Circuit or the Corniche, but this desirable part of Abu Dhabi is blessed with a beautiful waterside path. Join the local joggers and follow it all the way from Al Zeina, through Al Muneera and over to Al Raha, with the picture-perfect surrounding scenes of Yas Island and the glorious sparkling waters of the Gulf there to keep you motivated along the way. On a clear day you can see almost as far as the city, and even if your speed doesn’t quite live up to your expectations, you can always commiserate yourself with a bite at one of many cafes afterwards.
As one of the world’s most sustainable urban communities, it’s only fitting that Masdar City provides exceptional facilities for outdoor exercise. The innovative, futuristic complex boasts a 5.6km running track, starting at Masdar Park and carrying on round past Etihad Plaza and along the edge of Khalifa City. Quiet and peaceful, it’s a great opportunity to check out Masdar’s vast array of solar panels, plus the super sustainable Eco-Villa, which uses around 72 per cent less energy than a typical Abu Dhabi home. Small pods of outdoor gym equipment are also dotted throughout, so you can always combine working on your strength with topping up your daily step count.
Scattered with luscious green parks and golden beaches, the 8km-long Abu Dhabi Corniche is the city’s pride and joy. A hive of activity during the cooler months, the wide, flat, perfectly maintained path is a dream for those looking for a peaceful stroll or stress-busting run, while the adjacent cycle path means you aren’t competing for space with those who are on two wheels, rather than two feet. Hugging the beautiful blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, it provides photo opportunities galore. Plus, with showers, toilets, cafes and even a gym along the route, you can easily turn your jog into a whole day out.
The Eastern Mangroves
Enhance your morning workout by immersing yourself in the wonder of one of Abu Dhabi’s most precious areas of natural beauty. These ancient trees and the park’s many wild inhabitants have a natural ability to instill a wonderful sense of calm, and the long path that stretches from the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel and down into the city is a sensational way of admiring and appreciating this unique environment. The city skyline in the background provides a mesmeric example of urban and natural landscapes working in harmony, and coming here for sunrise or sunset is particularly magical.
Yas Marina Circuit
There simply can’t be many more awe-inspiring training routes in the world than the track at Yas Marina Circuit. Thanks to TrainYAS, residents and visitors to the capital are invited to stretch their legs around the iconic 5.55km loop every Sunday and Tuesday evening, while ladies can also attend private sessions on Wednesdays, too. The thrill of being able to enter this world-famous structure for free never gets old, and it’s a great way of fitting in some Abu Dhabi sight-seeing, and breaking up the working week with some adrenaline-fueled excitement.
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.