Many of us are guilty of not moving as much as we should.
Do you sit in the office all day, only stepping out for a quick lunch at the office cafeteria? Do you call for a taxi even when your destination is less than 2km away? Would you rather wait in line to get on the escalator even though no one is using the staircase next to it?
If so, you’re not alone. With the proliferation of technologies that allow us to get groceries and book transportation with just a few taps on our devices, our lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary.
Over time, this results in significant health risks. Studies have shown that those who do not lead an active lifestyle have a higher tendency of developing chronic conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Physical activity helps our bodies to work at their best as it helps to keep the weight down and promotes mental well-being.
That’s not all. The many-fold benefits of regular exercise include:
- A lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancers;
- Reduction of stress and anxiety;
- Mental well-being;
- Improved balance and coordination;
- Weight control;
- Better self-esteem as you look and feel good;
- Stronger bones, muscles and joints
Just remember “150”
If you are a working adult aged between 19 to 49, you can get the most out of exercise by following this guideline: simply accumulate 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
The types of activities matter as well. According to the National Physical Activity Guidelines launched by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), your exercise regime should include moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA), bringing your body close to maximum heart rate.
Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, a 20-year-old will have an estimated max heart rate of 200. From there, you can follow the below guidelines:
|Intensity of workout||Percentage of max heart rate|
|Light||57 to 63|
|Moderate||64 to 75|
|Vigorous||76 to 95|
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA) per week in sessions of at least 10 minutes each.
When doing such exercises, your breathing rate should increase. This means that when doing moderate-intensity exercises such as brisk walking (5-7 km/hr), dancing, low-impact aerobics, leisure cycling, you should still be able to talk but do not have enough breath to sing.
For vigorous-intensity workouts, you should be still able to say a few words but are not out of breath. Examples include jogging, steps aerobics, swimming laps, spinning and playing sports or ball games.
Here are two sample plans of how you can get 150 minutes and achieve substantial health benefits.
Plan A: For the exercise enthusiast
|Activity||Number of minutes a week|
|Brisk-walk or cycle to and fro the nearest MRT station, instead of taking the bus during the weekday commute (5 times a week)||100 minutes|
|Jog or run around the neighbourhood twice a week for 30 minutes (2 times a week)||60 minutes|
|Try a trendy workout with friends every Sunday, such as All that Jazz, Kpop X Fitness, Fight Club and more with HPB’s Sundays @ the Park programme (Once a week)||60 minutes|
|Grand total||220 minutes|
Plan B: For the time-strapped executive
|Activity||Number of minutes a week|
|Take the stairs instead of the escalator daily ( 7 times a week)||42 minutes|
|High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts once a week with HPB’s Quick HIIT and Sunrise in the City programmes. The latter offers yoga, pilates, jumping fitness and HIIT workouts. (Once a week)||60 minutes|
|Use shared bikes to cycle home from MRT back home on weekdays (5 times a week)||50 minutes|
|Grand total||152 minutes|
You can customise your own fitness plan by choosing the workouts you love — just remember to do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities a week.
According to the National Physical Activity Guideline, doing so helps in a 20-50 per cent reduction your risk towards various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.