Top 5 Must-Try Summer Sports

It goes without saying that the Hot and Dry Season is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors. But rather than going for common summer activities such as swimming and heading to the mall, we dare you to kick the adventure factor up a notch, and try out these new and exciting sports.

Ultimate

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

What it is:
Now a popular sport in the Philippines, Ultimate is a fast-paced game, which involves players passing around a flying disc (Frisbee). Mechanics-wise, it resembles American football as players try to score by spinning the discs into their respective goals.

Ultimate beginners can practice with a partner with simple catch and throw exercises.

The discs used in this sport come in various types, the official version weighing in at around 200 grams. In the Philippines, discs are often made of composite plastic, while other versions are crafted from fabric, Styrofoam and rubber.

What you need:
Since you’ll be running and your hearts out, it’s best to wear comfortable and pliable clothes when playing this sport.

Spandex is highly recommended as it acts as a protective layer, reducing the impact of scrapes, burns and cuts. If you have problems with your knees, ankles or wrists, it’s best to wear braces and supports. And to prevent the sweat from flowing down to your fingertips, which affects traction with the Frisbee, wear a sweatband on your throwing wrist.

Why it’s good for you:
Ultimate improves cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, stamina, agility and body coordination. According to health experts, playing Frisbee on a regular basis burns as much as 765 calories in half an hour.

Where to play:
Grassy fields, and even the beach, are the perfect spots for Ultimate. You only need to look for an adequate-sized field that permits you to throw and run—and you’re good to go!

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Mountain Biking

Photo courtesy: www.ridealltheway.com

Photo courtesy: www.ridealltheway.com

What it is:
Cycling is good for everyone, but if you want to go extreme, mountain biking is the way to go. The sport, itself, has several categories.

Cross-country involves maintaining your balance on various mountain trails while Downhill biking is characterized by sharp descents. Even more challenging is the Four-Cross mountain biking where riders compete on a designed and highly challenging course. Meanwhile, Trailquest mountain biking is a combination of cross-country and orienteering. Bikers in this division search for specific locations to gain points.

What you need:
Before hopping on your bike, make sure to wear a helmet. This protects your head against possible injury so go for something that fits snug so it won’t wobble while riding.

To keep you hydrated, bring water in a bottle that fits in your bike bottle cage. If you’re planning a long ride, invest in a hydration pack.

It also pays to have a handheld pump and tube so you can put air in your tires in case of emergency. Different sizes of Allen wrenches and screwdrivers also come in handy.

Since you’ll be on an off-road terrain, protect your eyes against dust particles by wearing glasses. To reduce hand fatigue, choose riding gloves with palm padding.
Padded riding shorts also keep you from getting saddle sores and rashes.

Why it’s good for you:
Biking promotes cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, joint mobility, posture and coordination. It also reduces stress levels, body fat, anxiety and depression.

Where to ride:
Trails within and near Metro Manila include the La Mesa Nature Reserve, Timberland in San Mateo in Rizal, and Tanay in Rizal.

Photo courtesy: www.runroo.com

Photo courtesy: www.runroo.com

Wakeboarding

Photo courtesy: www.pinterest.com

Photo courtesy: www.pinterest.com

What it is:
Basically a water sport that lets you ride on a wakeboard while being pull by a motorboat, wakeboarding began in the 1980s when surfers hitched rides on boats using ropes. From then on, surfers began to design wakeboards, which maintained balance and steadiness. It became recognized as an extreme sport in the 1990s.

Professionals play this with stunts and maneuvers, flipping high up the air and back on the wakeboard.

If you are an experience surfer, this could be a little easy for you. Two popular jumps are the roll, when you move edge over edge and the flip. Mastering these two maneuvers will make you want more to go up into the air and do some more stunts.

Be reminded to always stretch before you wakeboard. Focus on the upper back and leg muscles. And it is necessary to take a wakeboarding lesson with an experience instructor.

What you need:
Before you begin, stretching is a must, focusing on the upper back and leg muscles. Be sure to take lessons with a certified instructor. Wetsuits are recommended to keep your body warm since you will be in the water most of the time. Life vests or buoyancy aids are also part of the gear. Helmets are just as important even if some people think this unnecessary.

Why it’s good for you:
It’s a great full-body exercise, requiring strength to carry your own weight. Wakeboarding strengthens arm and leg muscles, improves flexibility and versatility, and develops hand-eye coordination and balance.

Where to ride:
Wakeboarding is now easily accessible especially for first=timers. Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Decawake Park in Pampanga; and CamSur Watersports Complex in Bicol offer this adrenaline-pumping sport.

Surfing

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

What it is:
Another water sport that involves riding the waves, surfing originated in Western Polynesia thousands of years ago, when fishermen discovered it as an efficient method to go back to the shore. Eventually, riding on wooden boards eventually became a pastime.

What you need:
In surfing, less is more because all you really need is a surfboard. For beginners, go for surfboards that are wide and thick, but ultimately, its specifications depend on your weight and body frame.

Remember to learn the basics from an experienced instructor before trying this sport.

Why it’s good for you:
Its health benefits include cardiovascular fitness and increasing the strength of your shoulders, back, legs and core.

Where to ride:
Surfers can choose from the various surfing spots in the country. Siargao Island in Surigao Del Norte is the annual venue of the Siargao Cup Surfing Competition. Baler, Aurora is also a favorite surfing camp. If you want something nearer, try the beaches of Zambales.

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Photo Courtesy: Alvin Pura

Scuba Diving

Photo courtesy: www.pinterest.com

Photo courtesy: www.pinterest.com

What it is:
Scuba is actually an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA), which describes the cylinders that lets divers breathe underwater. Not like surfing and wakeboarding, scuba diving is not considered an extreme sport.
Given the country’s rich marine life, scuba diving gives you the perfect opportunity to marvel at nature’s underwater bounty.

What you need:
Scuba diving requires quality gear and equipment, including fins, a mask, tank, depth and pressure gauges and a watch suited with a compass. Wetsuits are a must in maintaining normal body temperature underwater.

Why it’s good for you:
The basic science of water is that it is heavier than air. Aside from strengthening muscles, an hour of scuba diving can burn 350 calories. It also improves your breathing technique as you inhale and exhale deeper underwater. Deep breathing stimulates the lymphatic system, which eliminates toxins from the body.

Where to dive:
The country’s top dive spots include Apo Island in Dauin, Negros Oriental;
Anilao, Batangas; Monad Shoal in Malapascua, Cebu, popular for its thresher sharks;
World War II wrecks in Coron Bay, Palawan; and the Tubbataha Reef National Park in Palawan, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This vacation, try venturing out of your comfort zone with these heart-pumping sports. Make the most out of the remaining hot and dry days as according to PAGASA, this year’s rainy season is expected to start mid-June. So don’t waste this time of the year—enjoy the sun and indulge in some fun!

Jesy Basco

Jesy Basco

is an Advocate of Responsible Media and a Weather Reporter at Panahon TV, aired daily at 5:00 AM on the People’s Television (PTV).