Did you know that a staggering 70 per cent of men and 67 per cent of women aged 15 and older in the UAE are considered overweight? This in turn has led to an increase in type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, putting our healthcare system under increased pressure.
Although everyone loves the odd weekend on a sunlounger, indulging at a giant brunch, and enjoying a Netflix marathon on the sofa, finding the time for regular exercise sessions to keep our heart healthy and weight under control is crucial.
There really is no better time to start addressing our health – and taking up an activity we enjoy to get our heart pumping regularly is an important step. Whether it’s swimming laps in the pool, stretching it out with yoga and Pilates, or lacing up our trainers and joining an aerobics class, it will all make a real difference to how we look and feel.
Different activities, of course, demand different things from our bodies – and a new healthy lifestyle comes hand-in-hand with a demand for new hair, body, and skincare products that match the sport we choose to take up. Definitely an added benefit to getting active, these products counteract the effects of your sport on your body – and the beauty industry in the UAE is giving us more and more choice to throw into our gym bags.
Take Nip + Fab, for example – it has just launched a range in the UAE for use after yoga classes. Promising to restore the body after your downwards dogs and salutes to the sun, the three products help soothe muscles, calm the mind and perfect skin texture after your class. And with Kylie Jenner among its high-profile fans, the products are flying off shelves with resident yogis.
So what else is out there to add a little post-workout luxury to our lives? We’ve taken a look at a handful of different sports and what our bodies crave after a workout, with suggestions of what to buy, try and apply after that workout.
All set for a jog? Kudos for strapping on your running shoes, heading outside, and hitting the pavement. To protect your skin, you will need a high-factor SPF – and Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Lotion Spray SPF110 (Dh47, Carrefour stores) is ideal, promising high-factor protection, along with water-resistant coverage so it stays put throughout the sweatiest jogging sessions.
If you take running seriously, your feet are going to suffer – and while it won’t protect your pedicure, a good foot cream will soften those hard soles and soothe skin between your jogs. Look for skin-friendly ingredients like shea and cocoa butter, with soothing, antibacterial infusions like lavender and arnica to freshen up feet. L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream (Dh49, loccitane.com) is ideal for pampering post-jog feet – and with a super silky, luxurious texture that absorbs quickly, it feels like a treat to apply too.
Regular massage will also benefit sore feet and muscles – and that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive massage and reflexology sessions. Instead, add a home foot massager to your bathroom shelf and use it to massage the balls of your feet between jogs. The Thera-Band Foot Roller (price on request, healthmartuae.com) is perfect, as it can be chilled or frozen to help with inflammation and pain after clocking up the miles.
If you prefer jumping in the pool to get your workout, you need something to counteract regular exposure to all that moisture-sapping pool water.
When it comes to hair, the first tip is to wash it as soon as you get out of the pool as both chlorine and bromine can strip your hair of moisture and quickly fade your colour. If you’re swimming during the day, the sun can further amplify the effect of those chemicals and cause damage to your locks, leaving it weak, brittle and prone to snapping.
Invest in a shampoo that promises to remove pool chemicals – such as UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Moisturising Shampoo (Dh90, Boots stores). The gentle formulation can be used daily – and will keep colour fresh and hair healthy despite regular dips. Still, you’ll probably find your hair has lost its softness with all that swimming – so treat it to regular intensive hair masks. Products with argan oil will be your friend after swims – get Love Your Hair Organic Argan Recovery Treatment (Dh160, glamazle.com).
And it isn’t just your hair that will be feeling dry, but also your skin – and left to its own devices, it will become rough, itchy and prone to flakiness. Forget lotions that slide off and leave skin feeling dry again in a matter of minutes – instead, opt for a rich body oil that will absorb easily, but will lock in moisture for long-lasting hydration. Elemis Monoi Body Oil (Dh264, elemis.ae) is a great choice, with a blend of coconut oil and frangipani flowers for a decadent scent and amazing moisturising power. Apply generously after showering for silky soft and supple skin.
If you consider yourself a bit of a yogi, you know the difficulty of returning to the pace of everyday life when you feel so relaxed – after all, getting honked at the traffic lights is a cruel reminder that you are no longer zoned out on your mat. Keep the zen by choosing products that extend that feeling of balance, while pampering your skin and soothing muscles post workout.
Nip + Fab’s yoga-inspired beauty line is designed to restore and balance the body post session, with blends of calming ingredients. Take Nip+ Fab Yoga Blend Body Scrub (Dh79, basharacare.com) for example, which brand fan Kylie Jenner attributes to aiding a good night’s sleep. It is packed with aromatic lavender, soft rose, warming coconut and skin-polishing walnut to gently exfoliate and nourish the skin.
Lighting a relaxing candle at home will extend that chilled-out ambience too. Neom Luxury Organic candles (from Dh282, Bloomingdale’s) are packed with pure, natural, organic essential oils to calm your mind and leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and energised.
If it’s been an energetic class (Ashtanga, anyone?) your muscles may be sore – and relaxing in a warm tub can relieve muscle tension and prevent stiffness the next day. Pick a bath soak that is specifically designed for post-exercise, such as Marks & Spencer Eucalyptus Bath Soak (Dh75, marksandspencerme.com) and after you’ve climbed out, follow with a muscle-soothing body oil, such as Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil (Dh263, Paris Gallery).
Just stepped out of a fast-paced aerobics class or boot camp? First things first. After sweating it out, you will want to climb into a shower – and that’s the best place to be, as sweat is a dwelling place for bacteria, viruses and dirt. No need to scrub your skin though, as that may irritate post-workout skin. Instead, use a gentle, refreshing shower gel. The Body Shop Sweet Lemon Shower Gel (Dh49, The Body Shop stores) will give you a burst of citrus-fuelled energy when you need it most, while leaving your skin both clean and refreshed.
With your body temperature elevated, stick to a lightweight body lotion to replace the moisture in your skin, as anything too heavy can lock the heat in. Urban Veda Purifying Body Lotion (Dh95, Holland & Barrett stores), is perfect post-workout, as it is rich in detoxifying botanical extracts to improve tone and elasticity.
Don’t forget your complexion, as sweat can easily block your pores and result in breakouts. Post exercise, grab a pack of convenient face wipes to cleanse skin in the gym changing room – and with Bioderma ABCDerm Wipes (Dh39, basharacare.com), you won’t be compromising on quality.
Finally, when it comes to hair, a quick wash and blow-dry is always the best option – but if you are squeezing a class into your lunchtime, sweeping your hair back into a ponytail will suffice until you reach home that evening. Throwing a small can of dry shampoo into your bag will give you a boost of confidence before stepping back through the doors of your office, though – and Colab Rio Sheer & Invisible (Dh28, glamazle.com) has a clear texture, so you don’t need to worry about telltale white streaks. The fresh, tropical, energising scent is an added bonus, while the small can won’t weigh down that gym bag.