According to a study by Taiwan's China Times newspaper, Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world, averaging 2,402.4 hours in a year. Given how busy Singaporeans are, it’s no surprise that exercise is often left on the back-burner, put off till one has more time during the weekends.
Infrequent exercise poses some risks of its own and can potentially cause injuries. Photo: Reuters
However, while exercise is no doubt good for health, infrequent exercise poses some risks of its own and can potentially cause injuries if one doesn’t take extra care.
Here are some tips by Joel Pang, Associate Sport Physiologist at Singapore Sports Institute, to ensure that your exercise doesn’t inadvertently cause your body any harm:
Although sometimes brushed off as a waste of time, warm-ups have time and again proven to minimise the risk of injuries. It is important to warm-up the body by jogging and stretching for five to 10 minutes prior to any exercise.
“This would help prepare the body for the coming activity by making the muscles more pliable to avoid getting muscular strains during the activity that you will be engaging in,” Mr Pang said.
Awareness of own fitness and progressive training
One should always be aware of one’s fitness levels, physical limitations and medical conditions when exercising. And one way to discover your actual fitness level while not over-stressing your body is by progressive training.
“Progressive training is essential to allow improvement in exercise performance through the gradual increase in exercise intensity and volume across time,” he said.
“People frequently adjust training loads too rapidly without allowing proper adaptation to take place. This would in turn impose too great a stressor on the individual that may lead to poor recovery, accumulation of fatigue and eventually injury.”
While some might be impatient to see results of their exercise, the old adage goes: “Slow and steady wins the race”.
With the accessibility of fitness information and news through the internet, it would take no longer than five minutes to do a quick google on how to exercise correctly. Whether it is the correct technique to lift weights or the proper way to run barefoot, it is crucial to educate oneself.
“Proper education on the manner exercise should be engaged especially for individuals such as the weekend warriors should be done,” Mr Pang said.
Asking for help from friends who are fitness enthusiasts could also provide some very useful tips on the most effective way to exercise.
“Seeking expert advice on such matters would also be advisable before proceeding to engage in any form of activity.”
“A general rule of thumb, training recommendations by organisations such as the Health Promotion Board are useful for the general public looking to stay fit.”
Calling all weekend warriors out there, sign up for the Singapore National Games with your friends, and be a part of GetActive! Singapore - a week-long sporting bash, designed to have us all celebrating National Day together as One Team Singapore – through sport.