Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stealth health

HANSHAN COUNTY, CHINA - JUNE 22:  Rural studen...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Sneaking in exercise into your everyday life is as easy as ABC

Eveline Gan

Skip the escalator and take the stairs. It helps you burn off 7 calories per kg in an hour. Skip the escalator and take the stairs. It helps you burn off 7 calories per kg in an hour.

MENTION exercise and dreadful images of sweaty bodies and painfully vigorous activities come to mind. But believe it or not, living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be that painful or complicated.

Mrs Chan Yoke Yin, deputy director of the physical activity unit at the Health Promotion Board Adult Health Division, said: "People give reasons such as they have no time, they're too busy or that exercising makes them feel more tired.

"But it's a common misconception that to obtain the maximum benefits of exercise, you need to join the gym or even do exercises that make you sweat and feel sore all over."

In fact, physical activities can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, she added.

As most people would know by now, exercise has many benefits, said Mr Lim Kian Chong, a physiotherapist at Alexandra Hospital.

"Recent studies have shown that obese people who become physically fitter have a longer lifespan, and exercise significantly decreases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes," said Mr Lim.

He added that exercise also provides more energy for your daily activities and improves productivity at work.

Instead of doing half an hour of continuous exercise, it can be conducted in bouts of 10 minutes throughout the day. Mrs Chan suggested starting with simple activities such as alighting from the bus two to three stops earlier and brisk walking home, or using the stairs instead of the lift and escalators.

According to her, brisk walking and climbing the stairs burn about 4 to 7 calories per kg every hour. So, if you're 60kg, you'll expend about 240 calories if you brisk walk for an hour.

Interestingly, you can also engage in "exercise" at the supermarket. Instead of using the trolley, carry your groceries. This helps to burn about 2 to 3 calories per kg every hour.

What about those with deskbound jobs?

Simply sneak in some exercise while you're taking a short break from work, Mrs Chan suggested.

"For those doing deskbound jobs, they can easily tie a resistance band to their table or chair, and do some simple arm and leg strengthening exercises such as bicep curls or leg extensions. They can also do the same with some light weights," she said.

Taken from TODAY, Health – Tuesday, 25-Aug-2009