It’s summertime once again in the Philippines! In Boracay Island, signs of this hot and humid season is evident in the build-up of algae on white beach, in the compression of white sand, in the growing number of Filipino tourists, and in people exercising along the shore. Back are the days when people are motivated to get fit in order to feel confident in their slinky swimsuits under the scorching sun. So for those who are in Boracay, don’t just drink the night away, but join in the fun and rewarding activities that bequeath this dynamic summer destination island.
If you frequent the white beach, then you know that you’re never left without activities to do. For starters, try the most basic ones : Walking and Running. It’s fun, free, engaging and very effective. It clears your mind and lets you connect with your thoughts, while the endorphin that your heart releases lifts you up into doing more, thus you burn more calories. A 30-minute leisure walk already burns up at least a 140 calories, while running sheds off a minimum of 250 calories. What more if you cover the entire 4.5 km stretch of the beach and back? Or run up to Mt. Luho and down to Bolabog Beach? Or why not walk anywhere you have to go to instead of taking a tricycle? This will keep you in shape without trying.
Kayaking, like walking and running is another fun and engaging cardio workout that is found on the white beach. With a conscious seat of balance from your core, muscle strength and resistance, you can easily paddle along the island’s most-coveted turquoise sea and lose those excess flabs while having fun. It builds upper body strength, improves breathing and tones the abdomen and shoulders. Depending on your weight, you can burn 150-200 calories per hour with an average of 1,500 repetitions of low-impact upper body movements. Rent a single if you want to have full control of your momentum or a double if you want to share this rewarding experience with your loved one.
Going back on land, how about learning to play Beach Ultimate? It is an intense sport that involves a lot of sprints, Frisbee or disc throwing and catching, mind and body coordination, and team spirit. It starts with the basic training of backhand and forehand throwing, catching with two hands by clapping the disc horizontally and with a single hand, and gradually injecting sprints and catches, fake and long throws, and defense blocking. It is pretty much like a football match with offense and defense aiming to score at the end goals. You could burn up to 240 calories even from just a 30-minute sprint, catch-and-throw workout. So watch out for regular Ultimate trainings on the beach. They are usually held in the morning or in the afternoon in preparation for Ultimate competitions locally and internationally, including the annual Boracay Beach Ultimate.
Another annual competition on the island is Dragonboating. Every summer, different teams of around 20 members are found training on white beach in the morning and in the late afternoon. A normal training consists of stretching, calisthenics, core strengthening, running, carrying out the boat, and paddling. As Dragonboating is a forward paddling sport consisting of 20 human engines, paired on either sides according to weight, flexibility and power, each member is required to build up endurance, muscle strength, and team coordination. It also involves a drummer who conducts the pace from the head of the boat, and a steersman who turns and aligns the boat from the helm. Thus, ten pairs of paddlers stretch their upper body forward and dig their paddles into the water, shoveling it back up on their sides continuously in unison, with a fast and steady pace, encompassing a minimum distance of 250 meters. This sport is truly as exhilarating as it sounds, plus it is great in toning the arms, core and back, and it burns 700-1000 calories per hour.
If you prefer a much more liberating and adventurous water sport, which involves jumping, balancing, gliding and arm maneuvering, then get into the action of Kite Surfing. Non-experienced wind seekers first have to enroll at a kite surfing center to learn this sport and to have the compulsory IKO (International Kite Organization) license. Once you have gone through the learning process, you can then maneuver the kite and glide on the board independently. For an average session of an hour you are sure to work up your arms, abs and legs and burn around 500 calories. You can join the kiting action this season in Bolabog, the eastern side of the island where the northwest wind blows, also known as Amihan (October to May). Kite surfers prefer this side because of its convex shape, which filters the wind and creates a flatter water surface for a smooth and easy glide). During Habagat (June to October), all the kite centers move to the white beach to catch the southwest wind, which kite surfers find more erratic and doable for the advanced level.
How about immersing in the water instead through Scuba Diving? Jenny, a local Scuba Diving instructor have sworn that she lost so much weight by diving. Well, apart from swimming underwater amid the awe-inspiring life down there, divers are also compelled to breathe through a respirator, to carry their heavy scuba gear, to get on and off the boat and then to dive again. Doing this often will eventually tone down your fats and firm up your muscles, whilst studies show that a 45-minute dive will burn approximately 500 calories. If your non-diver curiosity wants to be fulfilled, then sign up for an introductory dive at any of the scuba diving centers along white beach.
Exercise your core and leg muscles as you explore more of the lush surroundings of the island or of the mainland Panay through Mountain Biking. A high-impact cardiovascular activity, Mountain Climbing allows you the independence and fun you get from running but with more thrill and challenges. Explore the hidden springs and falls in the mainland and go for an off-road/uphill route with a moderate speed and reduce downhill and you’re likely to burn 400 calories per hour. You can rent a reliable Mountain Bike at Patio Pacific in Station 1.
Last, but certainly not the least is Yoga. Derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘yuj’, meaning ‘to yoke or to join’, yoga is an ancient system of physical and mental disciplines, practiced to attain optimum health and well-being. It is a combination of eight asanas or poses that help in stretching and toning your body, as well as in breathing, relaxation, and positive thinking. By practicing yoga daily, you become in tune with yourself and your energy. Your diet, posture, flexibility, breathing, health and concentration are improved, your body is toned, you become beautiful inside out, your body and mind are relaxed, you receive inner peace and greater awareness of yourself, and you become happier. Apart from these, yoga cures asthma, improves circulation, aligns muscles and bones, purifies and strengthens the nervous system, strengthens the joints, improves eyesight, gets rid of backaches and releases tension. Practice Hatha Yoga with the Boracay Yoga group at Patio Pacific, or join True Yoga at True Food Restaurant for Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Anusara Yoga classes, or at Mandala Spa for early morning Mysore classes.
Other fat-burning activities that are available here are swimming, paddle-boarding, hiking, cross-training, badminton and basketball in the Eco-Village Gymnasium, beach volleyball and football, windsurfing and skim boarding. However, if these choices do not suit you, then search online for available gyms on the island.