Living a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main reasons why obesity is on the rise among Filipinos. The lack of physical activity prevents the burning of excess calories, allowing it to build up as body fat over time. Being overweight doesn’t just send primal signals to the opposite sex’s brain that you’re unsexy, it also puts you at risk of serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease just to name a few. Even if you’re comfortable with a diminished dating ladder standing and health issues, being overweight can damage your self esteem and limit your ability to fully enjoy life.
We’re not stupid: we all know we need to get exercise one way or another to keep the extra pounds from piling up. However, it’s the combination of time, energy, willpower and money involved in committing to a gym that’s so hard to sustain. While most of us sign up for gym programs with the best intentions, we tend to find ourselves quitting for whatever reason in just a month or two.
For those of us looking to trim some body fat, get a little healthier and look a little better, a good alternative to gym exercise is getting into sports. Unlike gyms where repetition and monotony are the norm, sports have social and competitive aspects to them. Most sports were created with fun in mind, making this form of exercise much more motivating and easier to stick to.
Of course, not all sports are equal in terms of their ability to help you burn calories. Some can get you fitter in a shorter amount of time. If you’re wondering what sports commonly played in the Philippines are best suited for your slimming goals, here are the top 10:
1. Running (1020 calories/hour)
Probably the oldest sport known to man, running is still a major sport today and is a cornerstone of every Olympic event. It’s something you can do practically anywhere as long as there are some clear roads where you can gallop around.
Not only does running burn calories at the fastest rate on a per hour basis, it also strengthens your lungs, prevents the onset of high blood pressure, boosts the immune system and relieves stress among many other health benefits. If you’re serious about slimming down, running is still the best and easiest form of physical activity for you.
2. Boxing (884 calories/hour)
Boxing isn’t just one of the most effective forms of hand-to-hand combat, it’s also one of the best sports you can get into if you want to trim the flabs. With its combination of jogging, mitt work, footwork exercises, heavy bag drills, skipping rope and sparring, boxing is sure to make every square inch of your body sweat hard. Not only does it burn almost a thousand calories in an hour, it also improves cardiovascular health, reduces stress, builds strength and enhances hand-eye coordination.
After Manny Pacquiao’s meteoric rise to the top of the boxing world, the sport reached a golden age of popularity among Filipinos. These days, there’s bound to be at least boxing gym in every urban area in the country, allowing anyone who’s interested in the sweet science to train like a champ.
3. Basketball (747 calories/hour)
For the vast majority of Filipino men, basketball is still the most fun among all the sports listed here. We may not be the tallest people on the planet, but our passion for this game transcends decades and generations. To this day, basketball is the most watched sport in the country and people play it in schools, gyms, playgrounds and even on streets with makeshift goals.
Basketball burns almost 750 calories for every hour oi full court play. Movements such as running, dribbling, jumping and shooting expend plenty of energy, helping you burn fat and you’re your muscles rapidly. It also helps improve cardiovascular health, build stamina, relive stress and release endorphins to help you look and feel better overall.
4. Taekwondo (730 calories/hour)
Tracing its beginnings back to post-World War II Seoul, taekwondo has become one of the most popular forms of martial arts in the world. In the Philippines, it’s a favorite among schoolchildren and many competitions are held across the country regularly. In fact, the Philippines’ love affair with taekwondo has grown to such a degree that our athletes routinely bag medals in international competitions.
While taekwondo training sessions don’t seem quite as intense as boxing workouts, they burn nearly the same amount of calories. With its set of warmups, stretching, kicking exercises, and sparring sessions, there’s plenty of energy to expend in taekwondo. It’s also said to be one of the more mentally soothing combat sports, likely due to the discipline it teaches and the serenity of its movements.
5. Swimming (704 calories/hour)
If you want to burn calories without breaking a sweat, there’s a literal way to get that done: get in the pool and start swimming. With the necessary gross movements such as kicking and paddling, plus the movement resistance that water brings, swimming can deliver workouts that are at par with land-based sports in terms of energy used.
Like other sports which require endurance, swimming helps burn fat while improving your cardio health. It also increases stamina levels and relaxes both your mind and body, improving overall well-being. Oh, and did we mention that it’s an essential skill that can save your life?
6. Tennis (574 calories/hour)
It’s not hard to see why tennis is among the very best sports you can get into if you want to lose weight: it combines elements of power, agility, speed, concentration and non-stop movement to play at a decent level. If you’ve ever had the impression that tennis is less physical than games like basketball or football, a couple of sets will help you realize how wrong you are.
To maximize the calorie burn rate per hour, play singles with a skilled opponent. Even if you can’t find one, playing against a wall is a viable alternative. Like other sports on this list, tennis improves your heart’s health, promotes better blood circulation, strengthens the lungs, helps tone arm and leg muscles, and relieves stress.
7. Football/Soccer (520 calories/hour)
The world’s most popular sport is also one of the best games to play to burn calories. With all the running, kicking, lateral movement and alertness that football requires, it’s easy to see why it lands at the seventh spot on our list.
The only drawback is that you might have to go back to school to play full team games due to the space that this sport requires along with the number of people who have to participate. If that’s hard to come by, you can still break a good sweat in an open space while practicing the fundamentals.
8. Mixed Martial Arts (500 calories/hour)
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has become a premier global sport in the past couple of decades thanks to the popularity of the UFC. As its name suggests, MMA combines elements of various martial arts to pit combatants against each other and see who has the best overall fighting skills.
Even if you have no intention of getting into a real fight inside the Octagon, MMA is a great way to get a tremendous workout. MMA demands good physical conditioning, strength, stamina, endurance and technique. When you sign up to an MMA class, you’ll likely be taught various aspects of Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, boxing and more. MMA is usually taught in dedicated training facilities but regular gyms and boxing clubs sometimes offer it as well.
9. Golf (474 calories/hour)
While it’s not exactly the common man’s game in the Philippines, golf has enjoyed a slow but steady rise in popularity starting from the early 2000’s. Since then, more courses have opened, providing local enthusiasts a greater number of options to enjoy a few rounds.
While golf may look upscale and relaxed, walking around a course and swinging clubs requires plenty of energy. Power, form and grace are essential parts of the sport, allowing it to help you burn almost 500 calories per hour on average.
10. Volleyball (356 calories/hour)
Whether it’s played on the beach or on a court, volleyball is always great for a fun workout. Easy to learn and enjoyable to people of all ages, this is a game that can be played practically anywhere with anyone as long as you have a ball.
Played with full teams of six for each side, volleyball can burn more than 350 calories per hour for an average-sized adult. In games with fewer players where individuals need to do more moving, jumping and spiking, the amount of energy you need to exert can increase significantly.
There you have it: the top 10 sports that you can play to help you shave off a few pounds. Just keep in mind that physical activity alone will not be enough to keep your weight in check. Complementing sports with a healthy and balanced diet is still the best way to keep yourself in great shape.