AN exercise revolution is occurring among Cambodia’s youth, with the nation’s young people enduring intense workouts in the pursuit of fitness and beauty.
Ann Vichdy, a grade 12 student, said she usually comes to the Phnom Penh Sports Club gym to get toned and stay healthy.
She said she is not satisfied with her level of fitness yet, since she’s only been going for five days. It’s easier and takes less time than jogging along the road, she added. Using an exercise machine at the gym makes her feel more accomplished.
“I exercise using a variety of machines. Sometimes I go swimming, but that can make my skin look darker so I pair that with a respite in the sauna room. Afterwards, my body looks good,” she said.
So Kundan, administrative manager for the Phnom Penh Sports Club, said that young people mostly come to exercise between 6 and 7 pm, especially on weekends.
“The patrons at my club are 80% Cambodian, and about half are young people. Men and women come in about equal numbers,” he said.
Kundan has tailored his gym to the youth market, providing machines that help to slim body fat and tone muscle.
“Most men exercise with the aim of making their bodies look stronger and more muscular, while women typically swim to improve their skin,” he continued.
According to Dy Dynarin, the 37-year-old owner to the King Kong Fitness Club in Tuol Kork commune, youth can begin exercising their muscles at age 15, but that starting earlier can have a negative effect on normal muscle development.
“On the whole, male customers are interested in muscle exercises that can get them in good shape. They’re going for the fit film star look, not the overly-muscular wrestler look,” he explained.
Kundan advised youth who want to get in shape to eat regularly and maintain a good balance of nutrients. If they eat too much, it will be harder for them to lose weight and gain muscle.
Chhoun Try, deputy director of the Department of Psychology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, that youth can derive both physical health and mental confidence from exercise.