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On top of a mountain or down in the ocean, there's always a cardio activity that's surely fun.

by Sean Obmerga


Boredom is the complaint of people who veer away from gym activity, turned off by spending hours repeating movements. But getting fit can happen while out in the sun having fun, and giving your body a really nice workout.

Matters of the heart

Mark Ng, a strength and conditioning coach with the Sports Performance Center (SPARC) at Far Eastern University in Manila, says cardio exercises “focus more on developing the cardiovascular system, which is related [to] our breathing [and] blood circulation.” Cardio exercises usually involve the whole body or the large muscle groups. According to, it “requires the consumption of substantially more oxygen than at rest. It involves repeated rhythmic movements of the large muscles of your body, such as those in your arms or legs.”

Ng reminds, “You don’t need to be on a high load of weights. … you are not [going to] push yourself to your limits … [instead] go for longer duration.” The goal is to keep your heart rate elevated for a period of time. According to, “For most healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target heart rate ranging from 50 percent to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age.”

Hearty fun under the sun

These activities were included by Ng for their health benefits, while the fun level is top notch, as their enthusiasts attest.


“Regular cycling (three to five times a week for a total of 150 minutes) will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health,” reports “An hour of cycling can burn anything between 250 and 700 calories, depending on the intensity.”

Mountain trekking or climbing

Involving long walks on an inclined path, often while carrying moderate to heavy loads, trekking may seem daunting, but enthusiasts say otherwise. "Climbing mountains reminds me that life has a lot more to offer, as I see the view from above. [Sharing] the hardships and the thrill of the experience with people who share my passion makes it more fun. And yes, it makes me feel healthier …” says Jops Corpus, ECE Student of the University of Sto. Tomas.


Carlo Engle, 30, a businessman, says, “90 percent of the activity is actually spent paddling.” This gives your body a good cardio workout. agrees, “Surfing is a great cardiovascular exercise, using mostly upper body muscles to do the paddling work, and leg muscles to guide the board once you're up and riding. Since surfing involves more time paddling, it provides an intense upper body and core workout.”

For more on fun and safety with cardio activities, get your copy of HealthToday magazine’s special issue on heart matters, out now in newsstands and bookstores.

activities that can make your heart smile

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