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Weekend sport for working professionals helps in mental toughness, weight loss

MANILA, Philippines — If you're looking for a sport that makes you a team player, hones your social skills and makes you lose weight and maintain your ideal body weight, then there's a weekend hobby that could potentially be your lifelong sport.

Dragon boat racing can be a choice for those weekend warriors who want to bust the week's stress away.

Veronica Fortanez, like many who live a sedentary life of a five-day working week, said that dragon boat racing has helped her achieve and maintain her ideal weight.

For someone who confessed to even find it difficult to do running, Veronica said that dragon boat racing for a year has helped her improve her overall health.

"Nakakasabay na ako sa mga timers ngayon. Na-boost din 'yung metabolism ko and naka-contribute din sa weight management," she said, adding that she had lost 10 kilograms since she joined SAG1 Dragon Boat Team.

The team meets every weekend in Manila Bay, where they do their weekend routines and exercises.

Veronica also noticed that the sport has helped with her socializing skills since she gets to meet with her teammates every weekend.

Mark de Ocampo, who is called Kap or Tuks in the dragon boat community, has been rowing since 2002. He stopped in 2010, but returned in 2014 and has continued since then.

As a seasoned rowing or dragon boat racer for over a decade, Mark has learned that the sport has helped on many aspects of his overall health.

A self-confessed sporty person, Mark likes to do sports that target many facets, not just his physical strength.

"Medyo competitive ako. When I do sports, gusto ko may mahihita, hindi 'yung napapagod lang. Kaya ako, as much as possible, I encourage everyone na maging ganyan 'yung mindset. Para at least ma-push natin 'yung mga sarili natin. What's good about Dragon Boat, it's all about teamwork talaga," he said.

Mental toughness

De Ocampo also underscored one of the sport's most notable benefits: mental toughness.

In dragon boat racing, paddlers sit in pairs on the boat and the whole team paddles in coordinated moves. One wrong, uncoordinated move could hinder the boat into moving forward through the waves.

It is important to be able to work well with others to establish teamwork and work on rowing the boat as one fine unit.

"Dragon Boat is one way na mahahasa ang mental toughness mo lalo na 'pag kuma-karera ka na…

"Hindi magma-matter dito 'yung mga individual strength kung hindi ka marunong makisama, hindi ka marunong sumabay, hindi mo kayang ibigay kung ano 'yung hinihingi sa'yo.

"Magsasama-sama na lahat 'yan: 'yung lakas mo, 'yung disiplina mo, 'yung commitment mo. So lahat pagsasama-samahin dito sa sport na ito," de Ocampo said.

As a relatively new paddler, Veronica encourages those who would want to join their team, or even try the sport. She attested to how it has helped with her mental and emotional wellbeing.

"Be ready to be a morning person. Maganda 'yung Dragon Boat. Now I look good, feel good and [now I am] stronger," she said.

For those interested in the sport, they can check out their Facebook and Instagram, SAG1 Dragonboat Team (https://www.instagram.com/sag1_ph/?hl=en).

RELATED: Artistic swimming aims to gain Filipino sports fans' attention

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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