Forego the sweat-encrusted Lycra and up the ante on your everyday activity. In our thoroughly unscientific programme, mix and match the below activities. And if your score adds up to at least 15 points per week, Anna Whitehouse reckons you can skip the gym.
Walk for your lunch
Stop whingeing when your taxi doesn’t arrive, or flooding puts the city on shut down and simply walk for your fodder. Furiously stride towards Mall of the Emirates (if you’re Al Barsha way), BurJuman (Bur Dubai way) or Wafi (Garhoud way) rain, hail or shine.
Do this minus the curly fries and you can burn up to 200 calories an hour (not to mention pumping the guns… or gun). Always go for a ball slightly above your ‘happy weight’ to really sweat it out… and impress the ladies, or gentlemen, in your contingent.
We did it as youngsters in a quest to build the biggest and best sand castle, so why not do it now? Buy a smaller shovel for less weight with more repetitions, or a wider model for more weight with fewer reps. The key is to just keep digging… It’s bizarrely therapeutic and burns 450 calories an hour.
Carpeted floors in Dubai are few and far between, so hop on all fours and simply get scrubbing. If you do a proper job (while chanting the old adage, ‘if a job’s worth doing, its worth doing well’) then expect to burn 370 calories an hour.
If you were the joyous owner of Santana tickets, then we hope you hit the hot and sweaty pit at the front of Emirates Palace for some ultimate fat burning. Moshing requires you to be alert and prepared to throw your weight around – and you can burn about 220 calories in 30 minutes. Time Out tip: Tense all of your muscles and propel your weight forward..
Or try. It’s a great plyometric exercise (swift movement that develops muscle power and speed), but only in moderation. If Feline Friends has to intervene you’ve gone too far.
Get a dog
Or, if that’s not an option, offer to walk your neighbour’s dog. Aim for a bigger breed (think Alsatian, Labrador or Great Dane) that tugs on the leash and keeps you moving – it will work your triceps. You can volunteer to temporarily house hounds from K9 Friends (04 347 4611).
Get the rage
Have an apoplectic fit as and when the need arises – we’re talking rants at curmudgeonly shop assistants, barks at Hummer drivers and bellows at anyone who deigns to offer us a credit card. Even if the increased blood pressure doesn’t do the job (we apparently burn calories twice as fast when angry), you’ll need less comfort food afterwards.
Scoot in and out of Spinneys as quickly as possible. Since a bottle of olive oil weighs 75g, a carton of orange juice weighs 95g, and a bag of five apples weighs around 65g, carrying your shopping home will tone that booty beyond recognition.
Beat the traffic
Try to walk five blocks faster than the glacially slow traffic, which runs at an average speed of 4kph in rush hour. The odd wave to a vexed driver could even raise a smile…
Order diet drinks
It’s simple, just say the words, ‘Diet Coke please’ and you’re saving yourself up to 105 calories a pop. Like, every time you drink. And that doesn’t include the visit to the recycling bin (a good 50 calories work) when finished.
Give piggyback rides
Once Ahmed Bourami, taxi driver and father of five, gives one of his children a ride, the other four are clamoring for one too. After he’s given all five of them rides, ‘they throw out that quintessential kid line,’ he says. ‘Again daddy, againnn!’ If you haven’t procreated, go ahead and offer your back to all those nieces, nephews or, if you’re feeling strong, wives and husbands. Do it for 30 minutes and you can burn about 580 calories.
Help a friend move
Have races carrying boxes from the apartment to the removal van. Perhaps not with the TV, though.
Run up a dune
They may look all Zen-like and unassuming, but try jogging up a sand dune and you’ll feel like you’ve been sellotaped onto a running machine for an hour. Running up and down a dune for 30 minutes? You’re looking at a nifty 630 calories…
Zero or lower: You’re insulting us and yourself. Why did you even read this page?
1-10: Way to go, champ! Now quit chasing cats and start running up some dunes.
10-20: See how easy it is?
21+: Wow. Aren’t you Wentworth Miller from Prison Break? Because you are a machine.