Exercise anytime, anywhere

PHOTO: Exercise anytime, anywhere

SINGAPORE – No time to exercise? You're not alone.

40 per cent of Singapore residents do not exercise enough and do not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines for good health, according to the recent National Health Survey. The most common reason cited for this was the lack of time.

To tackle this obstacle, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has crafted a new, holistic set of guidelines that advocates physical activity "anytime, anywhere". Under these revised guidelines, even lifestyle activities such as housework, washing the car and taking the stairs count towards the goal of 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

For substantial health benefits, each physical activity session should last at least 10 minutes, said HPB in a press release. These sessions can be accumulated throughout the week to achieve 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity a week.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • taking the stairs regularly
  • walking to run errands instead of driving or riding
  • alighting one or more MRT/bus stops earlier, or parking further away than usual to walk to one's destination
  • breaking up sedentary periods longer than 90 minutes with five to ten minutes of standing or moving around

People are also encouraged to engage in strength activities at least two days per week. Such activities involve major muscle groups and include activities such as weights, resistance bands and taking the stairs, as well as 'mind body exercises' such as Qigong, Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates.

Health benefits of regular physical activity include a 20–50 per cent reduced risk of premature death, incidence of coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as several kinds of cancers.