leekuanyew

Staying fit anywhere, in any way

Mr Lee stuck to a strict exercise routine even on overseas trips, and well into his 80s

Mr Lee Kuan Yew loved eating, and had a soft spot for fried chicken.

He also liked fish - grilled or fried, but not steamed or poached unless it was very fresh.

"I can eat anything and enjoy it, if it is good to eat," he said in an interview in 1992, when he was 68.

As he grew older, Singapore's first Prime Minister turned to more modest meals.

Breakfast might be a cup of unsweetened soya-bean milk and a small bowl of bean curd.

Lunch was also simple - chicken soup and tofu, for instance, or a small portion of meat with lots of fruit and steamed vegetables.

His love for food was matched by his dedication to keeping fit.

Mr Lee became health conscious after taking office in 1959, and remained active well into his twilight years. He started off playing golf but, ever pragmatic, switched to running because it was more efficient.

"Golf takes so long," he said in 2008. "The running takes 15 minutes. Let's cut out the golf and let's run."

He stuck to this routine even on overseas trips, with his security officers keeping pace beside him.

Mr Lee also swam and cycled to keep in shape.

"I try to cycle and swim even when I am travelling," he said during a webchat in 2000. "It helps me feel and work better."

Even well into his 80s, Mr Lee stuck to a strict exercise routine - 12 minutes walking on the treadmill every morning, 15 minutes after lunch, and another 15 minutes after dinner.

"Without that, I would not be in my present condition physically," he had said.

"It is a discipline."

linettel@sph.com.sg