Keeping fit

Forum: Have softer surfaces on more park connector pathways for running

The writer says that the majority of PCN routes are made either of concrete or asphalt, which are not the most ideal surfaces for running as they cause more stress on the feet and legs. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
The writer says that the majority of PCN routes are made either of concrete or asphalt, which are not the most ideal surfaces for running as they cause more stress on the feet and legs. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

I applaud the National Parks Board's efforts in building the extensive park connector network (PCN) and neighbourhood parks across the country.

They provide a great way for the public to keep fit and enjoy our green spaces through running, walking or cycling.

However, the majority of PCN routes are made either of concrete or asphalt, which are not the most ideal surfaces for running.

According to many studies, these hard surfaces cause more stress on the feet and legs compared with softer surfaces such as grass or rubber, thereby increasing injury risk.

Health surveys have shown Singaporeans are increasingly experiencing problems with their joints.

I also frequently see people sporting knee guards and sports tape while out on their jogs.

The lack of softer running surfaces in Singapore may be contributing to the prevalence of such injuries.

The authorities would do well to incorporate softer materials such as dirt, like what is being done at Bedok and MacRitchie Reservoirs, or even rubber, into more PCN and park routes.

As a result, the public would be able to stay healthier while keeping fit and appreciating our Garden City.

We would also save more on healthcare costs - knee replacements aren't cheap!

Timothy Ang Li-Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2021, with the headline 'Have softer surfaces on more park connector pathways for running'. Subscribe