How To Get Healthier By Walking (And Doing Other Simple Activities)

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Want to get fitter but don’t want to hit the gym? These tips suggested by the Health Promotion Board will be right up your alley.

Photo: Ferli Achirulli/123rf.com

It will be more than just a fun walk at the National Steps Challenge The New Paper Big Walk 2017 on November 26, as the event will also be used to encourage more Singaporeans to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

The National Steps Challenge was introduced by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in 2015 and has had two successful seasons.

Over both campaigns, HPB successfully motivated over 500,000 participants to be more physically active.

Its eventual goal is to get Singaporeans to change their lifestyle and behaviour, so that they find it natural to take more steps.

Just like in other high-income countries, Singaporeans have become more sedentary and are spending less time on exercise.

Ms Joanna Chan, HPB’s director of the obesity prevention management division, told TNP: “Studies have shown that even small increments in volume of activity are associated with improved health outcomes.

“By making small changes in our daily routine through good dietary habits and adequate physical activity, it can help us to reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

“Employers also stand to gain as a workforce that stays active and healthy is more productive and performs better at work.”

A healthy lifestyle means at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week, with each bout of activity lasting at least 10 minutes.

Optimal physical activity combined with a balanced diet can also help in weight control through caloric balance.

This means that exercise, coupled with a proper diet, helps ensure that the calories we take in are offset by the calories used up through normal body functions, daily activities and exercise.

If you find such moderate physical activity challenging, don’t fret. You can stay in shape by taking simple steps to increase your activity volume.

For example, walking between 7,500 and 10,000 steps daily can help reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Walking is suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, and you can make it part of your daily routine, with activities such as going up the stairs and walking over to speak with your colleagues.

If you have a steps tracker, track the number of steps you take during the day so you know how close you are to your daily goals.

For example, walking up four flights of stairs (or two storeys) at work for a meeting takes between 80 and 100 steps,while walking 15 minutes to your lunch spot takes about 1,500 steps.

You can find out more about the upcoming National Steps Challenge Season 3 and how you can sign up and collect your free HPB steps tracker. Terms and conditions apply.

Visit stepschallenge.sg for more information.

Besides walking, here are some other simple and healthy activities you can do:

Stand more

You burn twice as many calories standing than when you sit. Many people also think better while on their feet, so perhaps you can make a standing desk.

Seated crunches

Sit up straight, engage your abdominal muscles and bring your knees up a few inches, one at a time or together. You can also turn the opposite shoulder towards the lifted knee slightly, so that you also work your oblique muscles.

Seated stepping

Put your feet on the floor on either side of a low footstool, then step up and down while you are seated. This works your thighs and abdominal muscles.

Seated push-ups

Grip your arm rests with both hands and lift your bottom off the seat and your feet off the floor. Ensure that the chair is stable and arm rests sturdy before proceeding with the exercise.

Resistance band exercises

A resistance band is light and easy to use, and it can be discreetly tucked away in your drawer. Use it for some simple strength exercises.

(Also Read: 10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Going to The Gym)

A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper on September 9, 2017, with the headline, ‘Step up to become healthier’.

 

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