8 sports for free in Dubai

Time Out tries activities that are free for first-timers


It’s always difficult forking out for gym membership or club fees for a sport that you’re not entirely sure you’ll have the time, patience or will power to commit to. Then again, not wanting to pay for something straight away is probably just an excuse to stay on the sofa, which is why we’ve sniffed out a few sports organisation and fitness clubs that offer at least one free introductory session. Whether you want to jump
on a horse or into a boat, scale new heights on a climbing wall or get fitter and faster with a running club, there’s something in town for everyone.

Circuit training
The Regime is a new circuit-training programme designed to enhance strength, endurance, cardiovascular ability and weight loss. It’s aimed at busy city-slickers, meaning you can have a great workout in 45 minutes. Interested? Try a free introductory lesson with breakfast included.

The deal: First class free; Dhs50 per session thereafter or Dhs250 for six sessions.
Sun, Tue, Thu 6am-9am; Mon, Wed 5.30pm-8pm. Dubai Marina Yacht Club, www.regime.ae (056 762 7064).

For anyone wanting a vertical challenge without challenging their finances, Dorrell is offering three free introductory climbs per person on Thursdays. This offer lasts until June 1, so there’s still a couple of weeks to bag your free sessions.

The deal: First three sessions free; Dhs75 per class thereafter, Dhs60 for a day pass, Dhs250 for beginners’ course.
Thu 4pm-7pm. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.climbingdubai.com.

Yes, you have to fork out for a bike, helmet and a dubious spandex outfit, but once you’re kitted out, cycling is one of the most economically friendly (ie free) sports. Don’t want to ride on the road? Cycle Safe Dubai’s sessions take place every Wednesday from 6pm at Dubai Autodrome. More serious cyclists can try Dubai Roadsters, who ride out every Friday at 6am, although only experienced cyclists should join.

The deal: Cycle Safe sessions are free; riders must provide a bike and helmet. Dubai Roadsters sessions are free.
www.cyclechallenge.ae, www.dubairoadsters.com.

Those looking for a new hobby this summer might want to consider a spot of hip-hop, breakdancing or street jazz. First International Dance Studio offers a free induction class, allowing you to see which style suits you best.

The deal: First class free; Dhs800 per month thereafter (12 classes).
First International Dance Studio, Dubai Shopping Centre, opposite Deira City Centre, www.firstids.com (04 294 0049).

Local dive centre Al Boom offers free refresher sessions to anyone who wants to get back into diving. According to the instructors, refresher courses are highly recommended for anyone who hasn’t dived in the past six months. The only catch is that to qualify for a free refresher lesson, you have to book yourself onto a dive trip with Al Boom and show your diver logbook.

The deal: Refresher lesson free; dive trips from Dh300.
Al Boom Diving, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, abdiving@emirates.net.ae (04 342 2993).

Dragon boating
As far as fun and fitness are concerned, there aren’t many better options than dragon boating. Each club charges membership fees, but clubs such as Dubai Dawn Patrol allow newbies to get involved for free until they feel they’re ready to make a full-time commitment.

The deal: First three sessions free; Dhs1,000 for annual membership thereafter.
Tue, Thu 5.45am-7am. Barasti Beach,  www.dubaidawnpatrol.org.

Horse riding
The weather’s heating up, so it makes sense to take up a sport that largely involves sitting and minimal physical exertion. Of course, anyone who rides at a decent standard will contest this generalisation, but for the rest of us, Al Ahli Horse Riding Club is offering a free 30-minute introduction class for newcomers.

The deal: First class free; Dhs150 for 45-minute lesson thereafter.
Al Ahli Horse Riding Club, Al Nadha, www.alahliclub.info (04 298 8408).

Granted, you can run for free anywhere in Dubai, but if you want to improve your technique, try a few sessions with local running club ABRaS AC. To ensure you can handle the pace, the first three sessions are free; typical road sessions cover a total distance of up to 12km. Meanwhile, Nike+ Free Running Club Dubai also offers free running coaching, providing training for novices and advanced runners.

The deal: First three ABRaS sessions free; Dhs400 a year thereafter. All Nike sessions are free; sign up on the Facebook page.
www.abrasac.com, www.facebook.com/NikeRunningMiddleEast.

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