Swimming is catching on in the Kingdom. Sothea Ines and Tivea Koam dive in.
Four pools you can use
Location: Phnom Penh Centre, Cnr. of Sihanouk Ave. and Sothearos Blvd.
Contact: 017 890 986
Cost: $2.50 per class for Cambodians
VIP Sports Club
Location: #227, Norodom Blvd.
Contact: 097 777 09 08
Cost: $4 a day for gym, pool, sauna, steam and other activities.
Phnom Penh Sports Club
Location: #245, St. 271
Contact: 012 603 938
Cost: $5 , same options as VIP
The Parkway Health Club
Location: 113 Mao Tse Tung Blvd. (Parkway Square)
Contact: 023 985 999
Cost: $8, same options as VIP
When you consider exercising in the city, the options that come to mind are probably the various activities that you see happening on the street as you travel around in the morning and evening. Aerobics, jogging, badminton, and football are the most common forms of exercise, but if these things don’t make you want to get moving, don’t rule out exercise altogether. Consider leaving land and jumping in the water to get your daily dose of exercise. You may not be able to see it from the streets, but swimming is quickly becoming a popular alternative to typical types of workouts in the Kingdom.
If you aren’t a swimmer already you will be surprised by how many pools have been built in recent years, and with improvements in people’s living conditions, more people are making the investment in aquatic exercise. Jumping into a swimming pool provides people with a chance to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and a refreshing way to start the day or settle down after a stressful day at work.
Some of the avid swimmers we spoke to chose the sport because it is safer than most of the exercises you do on the street and many people think that it provides the best full-body workout of any exercise out there.
One of those people is So Sary, a 47 year-old military doctor who spoke to Lift with his legs dangling over the edge of the pool after having finished a workout in the pool. “Swimming helps the entire body; it works our whole body, heart, lungs, hands and feet, while some other sports like jogging move only some parts of body,” said the father who also got his children involved in swimming years ago. “It also provides a surprisingly good feeling afterwards. I feel really happy and fresh when I finish swimming and I am so excited to see more people of all ages starting to engage in swimming.”
After working at the Long Beach Plaza hotel for more than 5 years, 38-year-old general manager Ung Sary has seen first hand the rising interest in swimming. He said that when he started people rarely used the pool at the hotel, but now people come to the pool for fun, exercise, or to heal an injury, since exercising in water is much easier on the body than other types of exercise.
Hong Lida, a manager and swimming trainer at Camswim, which operates a pool inside the Phnom Penh Centre, also noted an increase in customers coming to learn how to swim. Since it was established just a year ago, she has seen participation grow from 20 people in the beginning to more than 100 today.
“Due to the many of benefits they get from swimming, more people are coming to learn how to swim,” she said about her clients, most of whom are from relatively wealthy backgrounds. “Not many people know how to swim already, so they come to learn because they do not want to drown when they go swimming.”
She added that swimming helps people slim down, sleep better, and is the ideal sport for people with medical conditions like asthma that make it difficult to do other sports.
One swimmer who is counting on the slimming effect of the sport is Hem Rathnna, a 19-year- old sophomore at Norton University who only recently learned to swim. She said she turned to swimming for physical fitness, believing that it would help her stay healthy and also lose weight. She said that she doesn’t believe the warning that swimming will make women’s arms look too muscular. “Many swimmers I see are pretty ... looking like a model in good health,” she said, explaining that she hopes for the same result.
We don’t recommend that you pick up swimming to look like a model, because you are likely to be disappointed, but next time you have a chance, spend a few dollars and jump in the pool for a few laps. If you don’t like it, stick with exercising on land, but we think it might be just the change you have been looking for to encourage you to make exercise part of your daily schedule.