Squatting during a radio interview: Shanmugam on exercising despite his busy schedule

Squatting during a radio interview: Shanmugam on exercising despite his busy schedule
Law Minister K. Shanmugam (right) using dumbbells with OneFM 91.3 hosts The Flying Dutchman and Angelique Teo in the studio on July 20, 2022
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam carves out 30 to 45 minutes a few times each week to exercise - even during a radio interview if he has to.

On Wednesday, (July 20) he brought his own dumbbell to an interview with OneFM 91.3 at the SPH Media Trust office in Toa Payoh.

Together with radio deejays Angelique Teo and Mark van Cuylenburg, also known as the Flying Dutchman, Mr Shanmugam did squats with his dumbbell midway through the conversation, which centred on his fitness regime and Singapore's tough stance against drugs.

The squats were followed by a round of push-ups on the studio floor.

While he has never been a couch potato - as a child his father used to wake him up at 5am to exercise - Mr Shanmugam said his regime comprised lot of cardiovascular exercises like running until his knees started giving him problems in his mid-fifties.

Realising that people in their 50s and 60s begin to lose muscle mass and bone density, he decided to take up weights and resistance exercises for the first time in his life.

Last August, Mr Shanmugam uploaded on Facebook a video of himself deadlifting 105kg that has since been viewed more than 275,000 times.

He said he started posting his exercises on social media to encourage others to exercise too.

With Singapore's ageing population, many here will live longer, but the question is what kind of quality of life there will be, and whether it is going to be a healthier life, he said.

"What's the point of living an extra five years if you're going to be on, you know, a lot of support systems? You want to be able to enjoy it," he said on national radio.

"And I would say to you: exercise. So I put it out on social media as well, said if I can do it, others can do it."

Once after stretching inappropriately, he developed a problem with his lower back. The injury was not serious, and went away after he went to a yoga trainer and did more therapeutic stretching.

Despite his busy schedule, Mr Shanmugam said he finds time to exercise a few times a week.

"If you can't do anything else, from what I've read, you try and get squats and push ups in," he said.

"Squats because it helps blood flow to your brain better, and also emphasises the whole body, the legs in particular. And push-ups because of the blood circulation around your heart area."

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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