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Stealth Health

>> Tuesday, August 25, 2009

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.

To reap health benefits, adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of less intensive exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, for five or more days a week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes throughout the day.

Or, do at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, like kickboxing or running, for three or more days a week. You could also do a combination of vigorous and moderate exercises.

Mrs Chan Yoke Yin, deputy director of the physical activity unit at the Health Promotion Board Adult Health Division, said: "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.

Mr Lim Kian Chong, a physiotherapist at Alexandra Hospital, said: "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."

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.

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.

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.

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