Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
It's always a good time to get moving! Regular exercise is your best bet when it comes to weight management. Skip the fad diets and bank on physical activity to get your blood flowing and heart rate pumping if you really want to get rid of excess body fat.
Remember your New Year’s resolution? For many of us, this was the year we would lose weight. Yes, we will! We don’t have to lose weight fast but lose weight, we must!
Then time zipped by and it’s now approaching the end of the year. Yikes. If we still have not lost a single gram (or worse, we’ve noticed a bit of weight gain!), what can we do?
Get active! It’s never too late to start.
Physical activity comes in many forms. If you have not been working out recently, it’s best to start slowly.
First things first: if you have existing health problems such as heart disease or Type 2 diabetes, it is important to check with your doctor or healthcare professional what kind of regular physical activity is safe for you and how often you can exercise.
For example, diabetes patients who are on insulin treatment need to find out how to manage their blood sugar and insulin injections before and after exercise.
Research shows many benefits of exercise for overall health, such as for your heart, lungs and bones. It also helps reduce your risk of certain chronic conditions.
Regular exercise is also very important when it comes to weight loss or weight management.
Why? Because ultimately, weight loss is like a mathematical equation. Output - Input = Weight loss.
Output means how many calories we use up while input refers to the number of calories we consume (calorie intake).
If we are active and use up more calories than we take in, our body will do what comes naturally: lose weight.
If you want to know more about losing weight the healthy way, here are
five tips from HPB.
Related: How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
Okay, so we know that the more we exercise, the more calories we burn. However, as with anything new, the hardest part is getting started.
But you know what? It just takes a little effort. Once you get started, you will quickly feel the benefits of exercise. When you start shedding some weight and body fat, you will be more motivated to exercise habitually and stick to it in the long term.
Start with simple activities, such as dancing, walking the dog, playing with the kids in the park, gardening or weeding. Even household work helps you stay active. Taking these small steps will help you get moving and your heart rate going.
Even when you’re doing leisure activities like watching TV, you can use that time to your advantage. Try walking on the spot! Or if you have hand-weights, you can do some simple weight-lifting exercises while watching your favourite serial. Before you know it, you’ll be building muscles and getting stronger.
Studies have shown muscles burn more calories than fats even while at rest. Burning calories while watching TV is a double bonus. Just don’t be munching on chips or popcorn at the same time!
Related: Burn Calories while Watching TV!
Better still, get like-minded friends to join you. Exercising in a group can be more fun.
“I’ve tried going to the gym but realised that I don’t enjoy it,” shares Irene Lau, a mother of three in her 40s.
“So I started an exercise group with a few mums from my children’s school. After dropping our kids off, we walk in the neighbourhood. The mums are my exercise support system. With our chatting and laughing, we now regularly brisk walk for up to an hour! It is good exercise plus a bit of social time for us.”
If you are more adventurous, try meeting friends for regular games, cycling or gym workouts. Stair-climbing can be more fun with pals and friendly competition.
You may even consider joining group exercise events such as water sports like traditional boat-racing or kayaking. Active SG offers several exercise ideas and programmes. You may want to consider dragon boat activities, a tie-up with the Singapore Dragon Boat Association.
Or check out these HPB Sunday group workouts for more ideas.
Related: Adventure Time!
If you prefer games to walking, you can start by playing gentle or low-impact games such as table tennis or badminton. Swimming is an excellent all-round exercise. Even if you cannot swim, you can do some walking in the pool.
Some of us are a little shy about exercising in public. If so, why not try working out at home? You can try doing some body-weight exercises like push-ups, crunches, planks and jumping jacks.
If you prefer to follow a fitness routine, you can consider borrowing exercise videos from the public library. The best thing about library video loans is that you can return them and get a different one to try at no cost! Alternatively, you can also check out free online instructional videos.
For example, older adults aged 50 and above may wish to followthese exercises for seniors that do not require any special equipment.
If you prefer to head out of your house, most neighbourhood fitness corners are equipped with exercise equipment suitable for adults and seniors. You can also make use of the open space at HDB void decks on scorching or rainy days to walk, do some stretching and bodyweight exercises.
To sustain your interest, mix up your activities or exercises, say walking on Monday, badminton on Wednesday, cycling on Friday, and then try something new on the weekend.
Mixing up exercises helps keep up our interest and motivation levels. Studies have also found that varying exercises help us reach all our muscle groups while developing good all-round fitness.
Repeatedly doing the same exercises sometimes stresses our joints or muscles that can lead to injury. So, doing different exercises can lower the risk of injury.
Related: The A-Z Guide to an Active Lifestyle
You might be happy to hear this: the best time to exercise is any time you like! There is no clear-cut research to show when the best time to exercise is.
In hot and humid Singapore, the cooler mornings are the preferred time for many people who find it more comfortable to exercise than in the evening.
Some people like to start the day feeling energised after exercise. If you find that you’re too tired at the end of a long day to exercise, you may want to fit exercise in before your day starts.
Some people find it easier to arrange for exercise appointments with friends after work while others prefer to take their time at the end of the day for “me-time” to exercise and relax.
Pick an exercise time that fits your schedule. This way, your exercise time is more likely to become a regular routine in the long run.
Related: Squeezing in Time to Get Fit
We know, we know – how do we find time to exercise when we have to work long hours or juggle crazy schedules? Finding some time to fit in exercise is just plain impossible!
It is less overwhelming if we break up exercise time into five or 10-minute slots instead of having to do an hour at a go. Fit them in between work or studies, chores or errands.
For example, instead of taking the car or a bus to a nearby destination, walk there. Or alight one MRT or bus stop before home and walk the rest of the way. After all, some activity is better than none! Soon, you’ll find that getting at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities a week isn’t difficult at all!
Or take a gentle stroll after a heavy meal. Your digestion will thank you.
So remember, we CAN push our weight around. We just need to get started.
If you are ready to explore more exercise options, HPB has a range of Physical Activity Programmes you can choose from.
Download the HealthHub app on
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Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
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