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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.”

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“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.

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“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 abfontanilla@yahoo.com, nick.fontanilla@gmail.com or nick_fontanilla@acreinc.net.

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.

Fitness

Study finds moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness

Dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

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In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” explained corresponding author Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM.

He and his team studied approximately 2,000 participants from the community-based Framingham Heart Study who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. Physical fitness measurements were associated with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers (device that measures frequency and intensity of human movement) that were worn for one week around the time of CPET and approximately eight years earlier.

They found dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

According to the researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes), fitness has a powerful influence on health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Center.

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Fitness

Tips to avoid common running injuries

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

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Photo by Malik Skydsgaard from Unsplash.com

Whether training for a marathon or preparing for your first community race, being knocked off course with pain can be hard to handle mentally and physically.

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

Injury prevention is critical. Here are some safety tips from Dr. Joshua Blomgren, a 15-time Chicago Marathon team physician and sports medicine physician, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

Don’t over-train

Don’t increase weekly mileage or intensity by more than 10 percent each week. Build up slowly and let a good training schedule determine how much you run.

Invest in good shoes

Go to a specialty running shop to be properly fitted for running shoes and/or orthotics. Replace them every 350-500 miles. Incorrect shoes can affect your gait, leading to injuries in your feet, legs, knees, or hips.

Choose the best running surface

Look for running surfaces that absorb shock. Opt for asphalt over concrete. Find grass or dirt trails, especially for higher mileage. Avoid uneven surfaces and seek paths with slow curves.

Stretch!

Training causes tight muscles, leading to strain and changes in your gait. Commit to a stretching program. Just 5 -10 minutes after each workout can make a big difference.

Strengthen muscles

Runners have tight hip flexors because their quads are overtrained. Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes to reduce chance of injury and abductors, adductors, and core to create stability.

Watch out for heel striking

Heel striking occurs when your feet land in front of you and your heel hits the ground first. This is common among new runners but can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Land mid-sole with your foot directly underneath your body.

Prioritize posture

Good form means staying upright and keeping your shoulders back and relaxed. Work core exercises into your training and do posture checks every so often. Hold your head right above your shoulders and hips.

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Fitness

Postmenopausal women can dance their way to better health

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

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Photo by Olivia Bauso from Unsplash.com

Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and self-esteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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