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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Public parks are exercise meccas

Public parks are exercise meccas

EVEN though many gyms and sport clubs are mushrooming in the capital – there are now more than 80 – most people still find public parks the best place to do exercise, because they are cheap and in the open.

Post reporters went out to public parks and talked to city dwellers of all ages who enjoy activities ranging from aerobics to badminton, dancing and football.

Doing aerobics in public parks is one of the most popular activities for people to enjoy. Siv Davin, an aerobics instructor at Botum Botey Park, who has been teaching for a year, said that more than 100 people danced there, while on Saturday and Sunday the number could be double that, with most of them teenagers.

Having been dancing and playing for two months on Botum Botey Park, 26-year-old Siv Cheng is happy to exercise there in good weather and says it makes him feel better and releases stress after working all day.

Padavy Vandy, 17, a student at Sisowath High School said: “I like jogging and playing football with my friends here because the park is big and I feel relaxed after study at school,

Every day most parks – Botum Botey, Hun Sen, River Side, Japanese Bridge, Kdan Pei and others – are full of city people exercising, not only to get fit and stay healthy, but also to meet their friends or get to know other people who also come to dance or exercise.

“People can make new friends and chitchat with the old ones to strengthen their friendship,” said Davin, who teaches aerobics from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Prum Den said he could meet many Khmers and foreigners and build up relationships while coming to do exercise.

Dancing in public parks helps folks stay energetic and can build their confidence. People like Chib Eng, 48, said she was really confident in herself after doing aerobics in public parks with many people and that such exercising was more interesting and better than in the gyms.

While we were looking around the popular exercise parks, Kim Samath took a look at the health clubs and those who prefer to be indoors for their exercise.

He believes that as many things tend to make us start to get fat and lose our shape, both young and old, Cambodian people are looking at taking care of their health and beauty by going to a health club for exercise which is becoming a fashionable habit for young people of both the upper and middle class.

While listening to music and watching TV, a big muscled man lifts weights as his body sweats.

Seap Sory goes to the health club every afternoon after he finishes work. In the club is a variety of sports equipment so people can exercise in any way they want.

“I want to have big muscles so that when I wear a T-shirt, I will be more handsome and attractive,” he said.
Exercising in health clubs is fashionable for young people.

“In public parks there is no modern sports equipment to make our muscles so strong, In the club there are experts giving us advice and ideas. For example, if I want to have muscles on my forearms they point me to lift weights so I would get the right result in only a short time,” said Sory
People said doing exercise in a club was more effective than doing it at home alone.

“I don’t do exercise so often or for so long when I do it alone at home because I get lazy and bored. In the club I have a lot of friends who always share good ideas relating to health and ways to stay fit,” Sory said.

Hy Dynarin, owner of King Kong Fitness Center, said that there were many different people who had been exercising in his club every day since its opening in 2000.

“My centre is affordable for all levels of people who want to enjoy themselves with sport,”said Dynarin who has teachers, policemen and motor taxi drivers among those at the club.

“Experts always recommend sports equipment to customers when they tell us what they want, so they can get a satisfying result in a short time if they try hard and do it often,” Dynarin said.

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