Step by step to good health and happiness: 5 tips to follow

Mass workouts are fun. You can join one of the more than 200 free physical activities and fitness workouts in parks and open spaces across the island.
Mass workouts are fun. You can join one of the more than 200 free physical activities and fitness workouts in parks and open spaces across the island.ST FILE PHOTO

A new year, a new you - or so everyone aspires to be. The Straits Times highlights five areas of health that you should pay more attention to for the year ahead.

Exercise - the classic New Year resolution that everyone wants to fulfil, but somehow finds the time to avoid.

What can you do to move towards that goal of being fit and fabulous?

There are ways to spice up your fitness routine, said Ms Alice Ong from the Health Promotion Board (HPB). The senior manager for physical activity at the HPB 's obesity prevention and management division was quick to highlight the fun aspects of exercise.

Ms Ong said that this year, the HPB plans to roll out activities that would allow Singaporeans to take a weekend breather from their busy schedules, while getting family members to enjoy each other's company and be physically active.

The activities will be in line with the National Steps Challenge, which saw Singaporeans competing with each other to find clues hidden around Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in its second season last November.

The points-for-rewards system of the Challenge was such a hit in the first season that the HPB expanded the tiers of sure-win rewards from three to six in season two "to keep it engaging and challenging for participants", she said.

  • MAKE REGULAR EXERCISE A HABIT

  • 150

    The amount of time in minutes that people should spend on "moderate- to vigorous-intensity" physical activity weekly.

    200

    Number of free physical activities and fitness workouts in parks and open spaces across the island.

The National Steps Challenge will run till April.

Participants earn points after taking a minimum stipulated number of steps each day.

They can use the points to redeem rewards, such as shopping and grocery vouchers.

Ms Ong also suggested ways for people to integrate physical activities into their daily routine.

Walking, for example, is a low- impact exercise suitable for all fitness levels and age groups.

"Some physical activity is better than none," she said, adding that once the activity becomes a habit, people can gradually increase the intensity.

There is also a mental aspect to exercising successfully, such as a sense of achievement in being able to set specific and attainable goals and having creative routines.

Ms Ong said there are more than 200 free physical activities and fitness workouts in parks and open spaces across the island, such as the Sundays@The Park Programme.

"Regular exercise is about forming a habit. So, regardless of what and how, the idea is to start moving and being active," she added.

People should aim for 150 minutes of "moderate- to vigorous- intensity" physical activity weekly, she said, and they should also ensure they have a balanced diet.

Make time for health screening

Practise mindfulness to beat stress

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'Step by step to good health and happiness'. Print Edition | Subscribe