World Heart Day: Ways to keep heart disease at bay

Kickboxing (left) and aerobic exercises like stair-climbing and cycling are just some of the ways you can improve the efficiency of your body’s cardiovascular system.
PHOTO: True Group, Pexels

To commemorate World Heart Day (Sept 29), let’s begin with some sobering facts. According to the Singapore Heart Foundation:

  • 21 people in Singapore die from cardiovascular disease (heart diseases and stroke) every day.

  • Cardiovascular disease accounted for 32 per cent of all deaths in 2021. This means that almost one out of three deaths in Singapore is due to heart diseases or stroke, with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity being the leading risk factors.

  • Among those deaths, the prevalence of high blood cholesterol in our population has increased significantly in the last 10 years, from 25.2 per cent in 2010 to 39.1 per cent in 2020.

It’s time to do your part and care for your heart. Jimson Chua, Area Fitness Manager, True Group – one of Asia’s largest fitness and wellness groups comprising True Fitness, TFX, Urban Den and Yoga Edition – shares some ways you can do so:

Aerobic exercises

PHOTO: Pexels

Aerobic exercises such as stair climbing, cycling, and dancing are great workouts that can help to lower blood pressure.

Stair climbing is free; all you have to do is find a high-rise building and start climbing! This need not even be a dedicated exercise, but something that you incorporate into your daily life, such as forgoing the elevator whenever stairs are accessible.

Cycling can be a fun activity to do with your partner, friends, or family, especially with Singapore’s island-wide network of park connectors – a great outing and an awesome workout.

Dancing is another great way to stay fit, as its wide range of styles offers low to high intensity options. It also helps improve balance, coordination, and gives you a fantastic outlet for self-expression.

Spin and dance group classes offered in gyms are also great options if you love meeting new fitness buddies and need that extra motivation from an experienced trainer to push your limits.

Fitness kickboxing

PHOTO: True Group

If you require aerobic exercise at a higher intensity, fitness kickboxing is a great place to start. Combining the art of self-defence with intense cardio, kickboxing is the perfect avenue for releasing any stress and frustration from the day while giving your heart a high-octane workout.

Elliptical exercises

PHOTO: True Group

If you suffer from knee or lower back pain, elliptical machines are designed to take the stress off the joints and serve as an excellent alternative cardiovascular exercise that strengthens the heart, lungs and muscles. Elliptical machines also build endurance and stamina, and you can use them for both high-intensity and steady-state cardio exercises.

Work out a workout regimen

True Functional Training at TFX Millennial Walk. 
PHOTO: True Group

Starting and maintaining a workout regimen can seem daunting. Here are some useful tips to get a simple routine up and running.

1. Set a realistic and specific goal

Set realistic and specific goals as you ease back into a workout routine, and aim to make gradual improvements as you go along. Being able to see yourself improving is a great first step to staying on track and sticking to a routine.

2. Join a group class

Urban Functional Training at Urban Den. 
PHOTO: True Group

Group classes are great if you enjoy being part of a community and feeding off the energy of like-minded individuals. Working out in a group setting keeps you motivated and more open to trying new things.

To help you kick-start your fitness journey, here are some group exercises and programmes in varied fitness levels offered at True Group’s gyms:

  • Dance classes @ True Fitness: From Les Mills to Zumba and K-pop dance classes, these full body workouts provide a high-calorie burn and adrenaline rush as you groove to the beats. Keep up with the hot dance moves for better muscular toning and endurance.

  • High Intensity Interval Training @ TFX Funan: TFX Funan’s High Intensity Interval Training alternates intense bouts of exercise with periods of active recovery. With varied intensity and functional equipment, this class is structured for a shorter but more efficient cardio workout.

  • True Functional Training @ TFX Millenia Walk: Conducted in a cage-like training environment resembling an MMA ring, TFX Millenia Walk’s True Functional Training classes offer an intensive total-body group workout. Comprising functional training, resistance training and dynamic strength exercises, the class stimulates cardiovascular endurance, and improves flexibility and coordination.

  • Urban Functional Training @ Urban Den: Urban Den’s 50-minute Urban Functional Training classes comprise a mix of high-power exercises set to a high-energy pulsating soundtrack. During each session, a Myzone wearable performance tracker will monitor your performance in real time to ensure you are getting the cardiovascular workout you need.

3. Engage a personal trainer

HIIT at TFX Funan. 
PHOTO: True Group

If you have hit a plateau or are completely new to the gym, a personal trainer will be able to customise training programmes specifically to suit your fitness goals, and also correct your techniques to maximise effectiveness. Better yet, they can keep you accountable, and provide support and encouragement.

This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.