A 2014 study showed that 38% of Singaporeans exercise three or four times a week. That’s way higher than 2001 study findings, where only 16% of respondents said they exercised as frequently. On top of that, the 2014 study revealed that, overall, 72% of Singaporeans said they’ve partaken in physical activities over the last month.
Sounds good, right? Yes, but not good enough. Singaporeans preferred walking as an exercise, but a 30-minute stroll isn’t likely to be very beneficial. According to physiotherapist Ray Loh, the pace should be brisk enough so that it would apply mild stress to the cardiovascular system. That’s the only way walking can promote fitness.
Moreover, WHO discovered that one in three Singaporeans doesn’t get enough physical activity. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity for adults, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week. Around 34% of Singaporean men and 39% of Singaporean women don’t hit either target.
We can’t really blame them for not being active enough, though. Most jobs demand sitting in front of a computer all day, and Singaporeans work over 40 hours a week. That leaves them with almost zero free time, except weekends and the time they spend going home from work. Commuting is probably their only way to exercise. But now that most are working from home, that only chance to exercise is gone now, too.
But they don’t have to feel helpless. If you can also use these pieces of advice, below are the ways to slowly invite exercise into your life:
1. Follow the Right Fitspiration
Fitspiration became famous overnight during the pandemic. And there are so many of them it’s hard to choose just one to follow. If you’re from Singapore, you may benefit from a fellow Singaporean more. Fitspiration from your country can give you tips that suit the Singaporean lifestyle. Of course, not all of them offer the same thing, but at least they can be more relatable. You may even realize that you can sign up for one of their classes. Fay Hokulani, a certified fitness coach, leads fun cardio and strength interval workouts in an environment similar to a spin class. If you can make time for that, try it.
2. Walk More
If you’re one of those Singaporeans who walk regularly, consider increasing your pace and lengthening your distances. And ensure that you’d target the 30-minute mark at least. It will get your heart pumping and your fats burning. To keep track of your speed, time, and distance, use a pedometer. You can also download apps that count your steps.
Brisk-walking on a treadmill will also help and may add a bit more challenge. If there aren’t any grounds in your neighborhood you can walk on, consider splurging on a treadmill if budget permits.
3. Move Around While Working
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, remind yourself to move around from time to time. Stand up, stretch, and don’t take shortcuts when you need to get from one place to another. Standing up puts more stress on the body, so it burns more calories. If you work from home, consider buying a standing desk and use it as much as you can until you can work standing up the whole time.
If you need to sit, consider replacing your office chair with an exercise ball. Your back may lament the lack of a backrest, but at least you’d be compelled to maintain a proper posture and engage your core. In a few weeks, you could start noticing faint ab lines on your belly.
4. Clean Your House
Cleaning your house exercises many muscle groups. Vacuuming, for example, puts stress on your arms and shoulders, and your legs, too, since you’d do it standing. If your vacuum cleaner is heavy and you have to take it down the stairs, engage your glute muscles, too. And while taking a break, engage your core as you catch your breath.
If you weigh 150 pounds, cleaning your house lightly can burn 85 calories per half hour. If you do vigorous cleaning, you can burn up to 102 in 30 minutes. Cleaning three to four times per week can be your only exercise, and you’d see great results!
5. Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss
Liposuction and fat freezing are popular in Singapore. But if you’d rather not go under the knife, fat freezing, a.k.a. CoolSculpting, should be your choice. It’s a safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment that freezes your fat cells and makes them leave your body. However, it doesn’t remove all body fat and isn’t a miracle weight loss solution. You still have to be active and healthy to maintain your results.
Remember to take it slow when inviting more activity to your day. Don’t do it all at once, or your muscles will strain. And most importantly, be kind to yourself. Being active and fitter doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, willpower, and patience.