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Paddle hard, party harder with Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team

Introducing Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, which believes in the principle of inclusivity as it promotes dragon boat in the Philippines. “We aim to combine a sense of enjoyment and competitiveness in the races we participate in, both local and international,” says Nick Fontanilla. “As we paddle hard, we party harder.”



“We believe in the principle of inclusivity. We put this principle above others. We have given up medals and trophies in many local and international races to uphold this principle.” This, in not so many words, sets Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team apart from other dragon boat racing teams, according to Nick Fontanilla.


“It has also been our mission to help qualified and deserving athletes who have a heart, strength, and a competitive spirit and the desire to inspire others to pursue the same dream of being a part of a really competitive team. To be on top, and stay on top.”

Triton-2Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team actually started when majority of the competing women’s crew from a former team re-branded themselves into Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team. Under the old banner, the team held top three placers in Dragonboat Championships for more than three years, ruling both the local and international race courses as the champion in the 2008 Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) Annual Championship, champions in the 2007 SAVA Sprints International Dragonboat Championship in Singapore, and Taipei Dragonboat Championship Festival for three years (2007 to 2009) for the international races.

However, although Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team started with only a two-men crew when it was incorporated in July 2009, it eventually grew starting sometime in November of that same year, so that it eventually formed its own formidable men’s crew. The team is now affiliated with the PDBF, “and our paddlers are an electric mix of people from all walks of life.”

Despite the growth, though, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team remains to be a “club committed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, foster team unity, and instill discipline and sportsmanship through the sport of dragonboat racing,” Fontanilla stressed.

So far, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team has been the champion in the PDBF Quarterly Leg and Annual Championships in Women’s Category for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, while its mixed crew consistently places in the top three, just as its men’s crew also competes for the top five posts.

“We aim to combine a sense of enjoyment and competitiveness in the races we participate in, both local and international,” Fontanilla said. “As we paddle hard, we party harder.”

Fontanilla admitted that there remain challenges. For instance, “the main challenge is membership growth, (particularly in) promoting dragon boat to sports enthusiasts, the youth (college students), physically challenged individuals, and to organizations whose aim is to promote unity.” Another challenge “is supporting our athletes who spend most of their time keeping themselves in shape for international competition.” Yet another challenge is competitiveness, as Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team also aims to stay on top.

Triton-3For those interested to try the sport of dragon boat, doing so – surprisingly – actually does not cost a lot.

For uniforms, for instance, “if there is a sponsor, singlets for races are given free to paddlers. Otherwise, the group buys the race uniform for P100 to P250. Fee for races vary. For races in Manila, registration fee is P100; for races outside manila, it could be up to P1,000. Meanwhile, for international races, it varies,” Fontanilla said.

As it eyes to further grow, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team now plans to “organize three additional teams within the club: youth (23 years old and under), seniors team (40 years old and above), and physically challenged individuals.”

But while “representing the Philippines in international competition where and whenever needed” is also eyed, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team also aims to be socially relevant by “continuing to be involved in cleaning up Manila Bay,” Fontanilla said.

And with that, joining the sport becomes an act of becoming healthy on a personal level, while staying socially relevant somehow, too.

To join Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, one needs to fill up the mandatory forms, pay a one-time fee of P250 per person, pay the monthly dues of P300, and attend practice/training. The group has regular training days on Wednesdays and Fridays (starting at 5:00 AM) during weekdays, and on Saturdays and Sundays (starting at 7:30 AM) during weekends. There is a general membership meeting at least once a year, just as there are other activities during special occasions.

For more information on Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, visit the group’s Facebook page; SMS/call (+63) 9178921918, 9285202256 or 9228365118; or email, or

Believing that knowing on its own is not good enough, "you have to share what you know, too", Mikee dela Cruz gladly shares through his writing. A (BA) Communication Studies graduate, he had stints with UNAIDS, UNICEF and Ford Foundation, among others, writing "just about everything". Read on as he does some sharing through Zest Magazine.


6 Exercise safety tips

Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.



In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are more aware of their health and wellness. Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

Sprains, strains and injuries can happen to even the most seasoned athletes. When you’re testing your limits, even a minor injury can alter your performance. Consider products and supports like these from the CURAD Performance Series product line, available at Walmart and Amazon, to help you get back in the game quickly and safely.

Find more resources to support your fitness journey at

Keep Dirt and Germs Away

The more active you are, the harder it can be to find a bandage that stays with you all day or all game long.

Spray Away Sore Spots

Controlling mild pain can help keep you at the top of your game, and a topical analgesic works fast to heal common pain brought on by fitness and exercise, such as pain in knees, feet, shoulders and backs.

Put Pain in the Past

When recovery becomes the name of the game and pain relief is needed after daily workouts or bodily injuries. Cold packs work to heal bruises, reduce swelling and relieve headaches and general pain points while microwavable heat packs provide satisfying heat therapy to address sore and stiff joints, muscle cramps and tension.

Reduce Impact of Knee Strain

Weak, injured or arthritic knees can come from many sources, including tendonitis and a wide range of conditions that result in strain or overuse. An adjustable band can provide support for on-field sports and during workouts or everyday activities.

Manage Pain and Relieve Pressure

If you participate in endurance and strength exercises or certain sports, you may ask a lot of your joints. Kinesiology tape can be configured a multitude of ways to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and pressure.

Control Back Strain

When your back is strained, your body and performance can suffer. A mild or moderate sprain can benefit from strong support and compression.

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Exercise can provide relief for dry, itchy eyes

A significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes.



Photo by Quinten de Graaf from

A team led by researchers from the University of Waterloo discovered that a significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes. 

Every time we blink, our eyes are covered in tear film—an essential protective coating necessary for maintaining healthy ocular function. Healthy tear film comprises three layers–oil, water, and mucin–that work together to hydrate the ocular surface and protect against infection-causing irritants like dust or dirt.

When any part of the tear film becomes unstable, the ocular surface can develop dry spots, causing eye symptoms like itchiness or stinging and burning sensations.

“With so much of our activity tied to screen usage, dry eye symptoms are becoming increasingly common,” said Heinz Otchere, a PhD candidate in vision science at Waterloo. “Instead of having to use eye drops or other alternative treatments, our study aimed to determine if remaining physically active can be an effective preventative measure against dryness.”

Fifty-two participants were divided into two groups—athlete and non-athlete—to participate in an exercise session. Participants in the athlete group exercised at least five times per week, while non-athlete participants exercised no more than once per week. Researchers, which included experts from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, performed visual examinations before and five minutes after each exercise session, where tear secretion and tear break-up time were assessed.

While participants in the athlete group showed the largest increase, Otchere says all participants experienced a meaningful boost in tear quantity and tear film stability after the exercise session. 

“It can be challenging for people to regularly exercise when the demand is there to work increasingly longer hours in front of screens,” Otchere said. “However, our findings show physical activity can be really important for not just our overall well-being, but for our ocular health too.”

The study, Differential effect of maximal incremental treadmill exercise on tear secretion and tear film stability in athletes and non-athletes, was co-authored by Otchere, the University of Cape Coast’s Samuel Abokyi, Sekyere Nyamaah, and Michael Ntodie, and Ghana’s Our Lady of Grace Hospital’s Yaw Osei Akoto. It was recently published in the Experimental Eye Research journal.

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Late-life exercise shows rejuvenating effects on cellular level

Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging.



Photo by Caley Vanular from

For people who hate exercising, here comes some more bad news: it may also keep you younger. Not just looking younger, but actually younger, on an epigenetic level. By now, the benefits of exercise have been well established, including increased strength of bones and muscles, improved mobility and endurance, and lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

But younger?

A study recently published in Aging Cell, “Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging,” suggests this could be the case. The paper was written by a team of seven researchers across three institutions, including Kevin Murach, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at the U of A. Murach’s grant from the National Institute of Health funded the study, and he was one of three co-first authors.

Bootcamp for Mice

While the paper is dense with data, reflecting the use of several analytic tools, the experiment that generated the data was relatively straightforward. Lab mice nearing the end of their natural lifespan, at 22 months, were allowed access to a weighted exercise wheel. Generally, mice require no coercion to run and will do so voluntarily. Older mice will run anywhere from six to eight kilometers a day, mostly in spurts, while younger mice may run up to 10-12 kilometers. The weighted wheel ensured they built muscle. While there isn’t a direct analogue to most human exercise routines, Murach likened it to “a soldier carrying a heavy backpack many miles.”

When the mice were studied after two months of progressive weighted wheel running, it was determined that they were the epigenetic age of mice eight weeks younger than sedentary mice of the same age — 24 months. Murach noted that while the specific strain of mice and their housing conditions can impact lifespans, “historically, they start dropping off after 24 months at a significant rate.” Needless to say, when your lifespan is measured in months, an extra eight weeks — roughly 10 percent of that lifespan — is a noteworthy gain.

Methylation, My Dear Watson

The science behind this, while complicated, hinges largely on a biological process known as DNA methylation. A recent New York Times article discussing Murach’s work on muscle memory described methylation “as a process in which clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach themselves to the outside of genes like minuscule barnacles, making the genes more or less likely to turn on and produce particular proteins.”

As the body ages, there tends to be increased DNA methylation, or even hypermethylation, at promoter sites on genes in muscle. “DNA methylation changes in a lifespan tend to happen in a somewhat systematic fashion,” Murach explained, “to the point you can look at someone’s DNA from a given tissue sample and with a fair degree of accuracy predict their chronological age.” Due to this, researchers can use one of a number of “methylation clocks” to determine the age of a DNA sample.

DNA Methylation, Aging and Exercise

While the paper strengthens the case for exercise, there is still much that needs to be learned. Though the connection between methylation and aging is clear, the connection between methylation and muscle function is less clear. Murach is not yet prepared to say that the reversal of methylation with exercise is causative for improved muscle health. “That’s not what the study was set up to do,” he explained. However, he intends to pursue future studies to determine if “changes in methylation result in altered muscle function.”

“If so, what are the consequences of this?” he continued. “Do changes on these very specific methylation sites have an actual phenotype that emerges from that? Is it what’s causing aging or is it just associated with it? Is it just something that happens in concert with a variety of other things that are happening during the aging process? So that’s what we don’t know.”

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