Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt effort boosts exercise in capital's public spaces

Govt effort boosts exercise in capital's public spaces

Govt effort boosts exercise in capital's public spaces

090318_02.jpg
090318_02.jpg

Higher traffic at Olympic Stadium just one indicator of Phnom Penh residents' penchant for daily outdoor workouts.

Photo by:

SOVANN PHILONG 

Early morning exercisers in Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium last week.

AS deputy chief of the security team at Olympic Stadium, Kim Vin has seen firsthand the effects of a government-led push to get more Phnom Penh residents exercising in the capital's public spaces.

"I started to work as a security guard here three years ago," he said. "Not so many came to exercise here then - only about 60 to 70 percent of what is here now."

These days, he said, roughly 3,000 city residents exercise at the stadium daily.

The increase is in part the result of the government effort, which has included the beautification of a number of public parks, said Veng Thai, director of the Phnom Penh Health Department.  

"There are now more places where people can come to get fresh air and pleasant scenery," he said.

The need for exercise

The negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle are well-known, Veng Thai said. Lack of exercise can lead to arthritis, high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure, among other conditions, he said.

"We know that Phnom Penh residents do not have as much opportunity to use their body strength as those who live outside Phnom Penh, which means they store more toxins in their bodies," he said.  

Veng Thai said the promotion of exercise in urban public spaces was in part modeled after a similar effort in China, a country with one of the highest spending totals for publicly accessible exercise venues and equipment.

This spending enables citizens to work out without having to pay for a gym membership, he explained.

  There are now more places where people can come to get fresh air.

"Cambodia is not yet able to provide as many facilities in public places, due to the costs and difficulty in ensuring they are properly maintained," Veng Thai said.

Khuon Tann, 62, said he did not understand the importance of daily exercise until his doctor diagnosed him with diabetes four years ago.

Since then, the Angkor Beer Company employee has joined a sports club, though he said he had recently begun using urban public spaces with greater frequency.

"I usually exercise on the riverside, at home and occasionally at Olympic Stadium," he said.

Long Sivan, manager of the Phnom Penh Sports Club, said the promotion of exercise in public spaces might lighten the traffic at his gym, which receives between 200 and 300 visitors each day.

But he said this might not necessarily be a bad thing.

"We do not know how many more customers we can accept," he said. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,