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Hot To Trot

cornicheEven when it is especially hot and humid during July and August, there is no excuse not to start or maintain a healthy exercise regime.

Qatar has a multitude of sporting organisations catering for the hot summer months, and besides the obvious benefit of keeping fit and healthy, there are many reasons why you should get yourself out there. Joining an organisation or playing team sports will help your social life – it’s a great way of meeting new people and you could find your social calendar filled with parties, camping for the weekend in the desert or simply enjoying the company of new friends.

Walking is a good way to keep fit in Qatar, but stick to early mornings and evenings in the summer to avoid the sweltering heat. The most popular and oldest site for walking or any other type of exercise is the Corniche. This seven kilometre promenade has a safe specially designed paved path with the picturesque views of the sea and the beautifully kept green landscape, makes for an inspiring jog or power walk. At night it is lit up so you can still enjoy a walk or jog in safety.

aspireOne of Qatar’s finest landscapes, Aspire Park is another popular site for exercising whether you want to walk, jog, run or bike. With 880,000 m², it is one of the biggest and most awe-inspiring parks. The architecture of Aspire Park is unique in its spiral pathways and solar-powered lights in a caring gesture for the environment. Like the Corniche, Aspire Park has fitness equipment for the public to exercise on for free. Within Aspire Zone, where Aspire Park is located, offers a variety of free leisure activities for the public, starting from jogging to horse-riding to cycling. You can take another journey on a ‘wood-chip’ track that gives you a sense of experiencing nature and woods. The jogging track, being covered with rubber, helps reduce the effort of walking and fatigue. It is 2.8 km long. Another track is dedicated for horse-riding fans. There’s also a number of children playgrounds and football pitches.

The MIA park can be accessed through the Museum of Islamic Art or from the Port Road entrance on Al Corniche Street. Designed by PEI Partnership Architects of New York, it features ‘7’, a vertical steel sculpture by internationally acclaimed American artist Richard Serra, his first piece of public art in the Middle East. Plants indigenous to Qatar have been used and pedestrian pathways are shaded by the use of hills and ‘swails’ (sail shading). There are playground areas for children of different ages, and consideration for those with special needs or requiring wheelchair accessibility. Year-round public activities include film screenings, sports events, storytelling programmes and art workshops. Cafés and kiosks sell snacks and souvenirs. The Park Bazaar is held every Saturday (except during the summer) with stalls selling food, arts and crafts, clothing, souvenirs, etc. Bicycle rentals are available for adults and children.

Opening times: Daily 10:30 am – 11 pm; Last admission 8:30 pm; Tuesday closed;
Park Bazaar noon – 7 pm, every Saturday October to May.
Admission: Free
Contact: 4422 4444

A new concept to Qatar, the Barzan and Simaisma Olympic Parks feature swimming pools, fountains, football fields, walking tracks and many more activities. Both parks have green areas, restaurants, kids zone, football grounds, tennis courts, basketball court, swimming pool, cycling track, fountains, walking lanes and toilets. The Barzan Park is located in Umm Slal Ali; the Simaisma Park is not far from Al Khor, behind the Simaisma Youth Centre.

Close to Landmark mall, on the corner of Arab League and Al Markhiya Streets is Dahl Al Hamam Park with its subtle modern design, calm ambience and more than 50 varieties of trees. The gardens have an extensive children’s play area, a bicycle track, a football ground and basketball court. Amenities include cafeterias and toilets. Closed in the morning. For families only.

Be Cautious

When you are perspiring heavily during exercise and your body loses large amounts of water, it’s easy to become overheated. In hot or humid weather, you will get heat exhaustion if you’re not staying hydrated properly while exercising. The easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink lots of fluid. The amount of water can depend on factors like how much water you’re getting from foods and other liquids and how much you’re perspiring from physical activity. You should also drink at regular intervals (every 20 minutes or so).

Indoor Activities

Exercise does not have to be an all-or-nothing activity. Taking part in the many sports available here can be fun and much less of a chore when you’re enjoying it. ASPIRE ACTIVE offers unique recreational physical activity and fitness exercise programmes for everyone in the family. It aims to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy exercise, sensible nutrition and intelligent lifestyle choices. An international team of certified fitness instructors delivers sports science-based expertise to produce invigorating and fun classes.

There are clubs, federations or hotels with something for you and obviously the cost of your social activity will vary depending on your choice. Hotels, spas and health clubs offer superb facilities and there are more reasonably priced spas and gyms around. Surf the net or log on to expat sites where you will get a good overview of the different organisations.

Aspire AquathonTake the plunge

If the summer temperatures are just too much for jogging or walking, another option is to take up swimming. Q Motion has a comprehensive range of programmes for both adults and children, using the temperature- controlled 50 m and 20 m swimming pools at the Al Sadd Sports Club. Adults can sign up for the ‘start to swim’ programme, stroke improvement sessions or other advanced programmes such as lap swimming and fitness classes. Register on the website to schedule a swimming assessment.

A professional swimming centre with two temperature-controlled pools is located at the Hamad Aquatic Centre, next to the Aspire Tower; although it’s not open for casual or session visits. The centre offers a three-month membership pass but it’s probably worth the cost, because then you can visit all summer long. There are separate classes for ladies, separate male and female lanes and special times during the week for women only. Opening hours vary so phone ahead for more info and prices.

Children’s Activities

There is no shortage of activities available for children in Doha and lots of organisations that cater for them all year round. See our Sports activities Section for a comprehensive list of sporting activities.

  • My Gym is an organisation that focuses on raising physically fit and healthy children. Visit their website for more information.
  • Q Motion has a comprehensive range of programmes for both adults and children. Visit their website for more details.
  • The food court at Villaggio Mall is an ice arena and has the largest ice skating rink in Qatar – the other option is the ice rink at City Center-Doha’s mall. It is the home of Qatar Men and Minor Ice Hockey Clubs.
  • Korea Taekwondo Center offers classes for all ages and levels of competency.
  • Evolution Sports (Evo Sports) is one of Qatar’s fastest growing multi-sports provider for children and young adults aged 3-18 years. Visit their website for more details.

Please refer to the ‘Qatar’s Sport Federations’ in the Sports in Qatar section in our Marhaba Information Guide for more details. Download Marhaba eBook here

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.

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