November 14, 2013

How I am trying to stay fit in Riyadh

I posted this hamster because I think it's a cute photo. dont ask
Since moving to Riyadh, I barely can go walking around the streets like I used to when I was in Beirut.
Also living in a city, where you have nothing to do except go out for eating or shopping, makes you lose your sight on how to properly keep your body healthy and posture proper.

That's why I am comparing the fitness activities I used to do in Beirut to those in Riyadh:

In Beirut:

  • I barely used a transportation (car or taxi ride) unless I was visiting somewhere far away or when I had to go for dinner at night.
  • I used to walk back and forth to get my grocery at least 4 times per week
  • I used to go walking for several errands around the streets for shopping or paper work or paying the bills, or meeting someone over coffee or lunch.
  • I used to walk down to work (yes a downhill with steepy and long stairs), and my work also involved alot of standing and moving around.
  • I also used to swim on Sundays for around 40 minutes.
Indeed, walking in Beirut, at least 30 minutes per day, made me fit and healthy.

After moving to Riyadh:

  • Since I cant drive, I used to walk to my work (15 minutes a way). Also changing my work, thus the location was a bit far from my home, so I cant possibly walk each morning other I am working from a desk, eating all day and barely walking around...
  •  I had to keep my eating habits normal and in check, not overindulge in meal portions and in desserts/sweets. This way, with the 15 minutes walking and eating average, I maintained a balance in my weight.
  • Working on a desk all day, I found my body was losing alot of body muscles and thus had severe back pain for months, and had to treat it by physiotherapy sessions and instructed home exercises. 


  1. GYM: First thing to come to anyone's mind is hitting the gym.
    I tried to search for a ladies gym nearby by home. I found two who were smaller than my house, with low quality  and quantity equipment. So you have to fight for the treadmill.. As for the pool, it was surely not deep or even big and perhaps is suitable for 13 years old.
    With all these factors, I wanted to register for the classes. Yet if i want only the pool I would pay minimum 1100 riyals around 300 dollars per month!! I still didn't add the prices of the classes.
  2. Walk more? Not possible in a hot setting like Riyadh where temperatures reach 40 during the day. And not possible all the time at night, as you always need a "male" companion in walking in a public street.
  3. Buying a treadmill for my house wasn't an option, since there is no place in it there....
    Also, I dont like treadmills, they cause me an overwhelming feeling of boredom once I put a step on it. I can barely last 20 minutes on it.
  4. My last and best option so far: was doing my own gym classes every two days. I used this youtube channel for doing the 37 minutes ! It is fun, and even more relaxing; You can pause anytime you want and take a break.You can sweat as much as you want and don't care about how you look...
    I also have the chance several times in the week to run around my nephew. Little Boys are the top in making you run after them or play with them by jumping crazily and dancing.


  1. I know the feeling, but luckily when I was in jeddah I lived in a compound with a gym and pool, so things were easier, but I also relied mainly on Fitness DVDs because you said the treadmill is not for everyone;), I practiced my own yoga, and used the pedometer to count my steps at the mall. Having the pedometer with me made me walk faster and not waste time at a cafe :)

    1. should try the pedometer...good idea...but am avoiding malls as well :S lool cose they r getting too crowdy and u cant really have a fast pace otherwise, I have to shop all the mall too.

      The physiotherapist actually gave me some exercises which were very close to those given by in my yoga class back in Beirut ( which I joined for a year only) ..
      True ! Yoga is not just good and relaxing, but also fat burning. I personally lost 5 kgs during 3 months of yoga ! Dont know if it was due to the practice or due to the harmony and balance ir brings to oneself !:)

    2. I guess it's due to the mindfulness it brings. After a yoga class, you can't possibly bring yourself to having something that's not nourishing to the body ( that's me at least:)) Plus, it depends on the yoga class, some have a faster flow and challenge the biggest athletes ;)

  2. Walking is very good for you! I did the same thing years ago, and when I got better condition, I started going to the gym. Now I exercise regularly.