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The A-Z guide to fitness - part 2

A-Z Guide to Fitness95 - Part 2 – Live Great – Great Eastern Life


Need some new hobbies to help you keep healthy? Here are some more great ideas to make fitness fun this weekend!

N is for Nurture: Working long hours, eating irregularly and sometimes unhealthily and not getting enough sleep can all contribute to weight gain. Nurture yourself and make sure your body works at its optimum performance. Start by eating a clean diet, exercising regularly and being in bed early – you'll feel so much better for it! For expert tips on weight management, download our guide here.

O for Outdoor Pools: Go for a swim at the nearby outdoor pool! The great thing about this activity is that it's ideal in our climate and it's suitable for people of all ages. Swimming, especially when you are incorporating different styles, can burn up to 1,024 calories in one hour thanks to water resistance. For the elderly, the water helps tone muscles and the buoyancy helps prevent joint or muscle injuries.

P for Pilates: In the last decade, pilates has become a popular way for people, especially office workers, to build a strong core. Pilates is great at strengthening abdominal muscles and more effective at tightening the hard-to-target body parts than, say, yoga. However, do take note that a beginner's routine offers only a mild aerobic challenge akin to a slow walk. Try something more advanced, which can burn anywhere between 255 and 375 calories. To lose weight, you would probably need to do a 45- to 60-minute advanced routine at least four days a week. 

Q for Qigong: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong is commonly associated with anything from improving balance to lowering blood pressure. However, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, 60% of the participants reported an improvement in depression. It sounds like the uncles and aunties who do qigong in the mornings are on to something!

R for Rock Climbing: Rock climbing is the kind of sport that does a bit of everything to your body. Aside from improving your flexibility on the surface, scaling a rock wall will also vastly improve your cardiovascular health. If you think that hanging off a vertical surface sounds like fun, that's because – it is! Rock climbing is perfect for increasing your muscle tone, as it targets muscles in the arms, chest, back and legs. Naturally, with an intensive sport like that, you are looking at burning 400 calories every hour depending on your weight.

S for Snorkelling: If you'd like to try something different to swimming laps around the swimming pool, snorkelling may be a great alternative. Snorkelling allows you to enjoy a different view every day – as well as being able to ogle at marine life. On top of the same health benefits as swimming, going against the currents at the beach can add that extra resistance that you need to tone your muscles up. Besides, snorkelling with your friends and family, and getting face-to-face with wildlife, is a great way to spend a weekend.

T for Taekwondo: Taking up a martial art like taekwondo is not just a form of self-defense. Every session of training can, in fact, turn into a trip to the gym. Besides improving flexibility, speed and balance, martial arts works your heart muscles and get the circulation going. Also, there is a reason why you seldom see overweightmartial arts practitioners! That's because intensive martial arts training increases metabolic rates and, as a result, you are more likely to lose weight after taking up these classes.

U for Unicycling: Consider unicycling for something fun, quirky and a real boost when it comes to building core muscles. Unlike traditional bikes, unicycles do not have handlebars, and riders must balance using only the muscles in theirabs and legs.

V for Volleyball: Just because you are at the beach, that doesn't mean you should laze around all day. Many beaches here have beach volleyball nets set up for you to use. Aside from being a fun team sport, playing volleyball at the beach has added benefits, since the sand beneath your feet provides added resistance, thus toning your leg muscles more effectively.

W for Walking: Can you really walk your way to fitness? You bet! Daily brisk walks can help maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage heart diseases and high blood pressure and strengthen your bones. Even leisurely walks around the neighbourhood or getting off the bus one stop before your office can work wonders if you keep at it! Here's why you should start pounding the pavement.

X for Xi qi: Xi qi, or "breathing in" in Mandarin, can actually promote good moods and keep your performance in tip-top condition. That's because oxygenation of the brain reduces excessive anxiety levels. Taking deep breaths also works out your lungs and massages its muscles, which is a good insurance against respiratory problems. Xi qi is basically breathing exercises and can be part of Qigong (see above) or yoga (see below).

Y for Yoga: Like pilates, yoga is increasingly becoming a favourite for city-dwellers all around. That's because yoga's benefits begin almost immediately after a session ends, and will continue to improve your body weeks and months after the fact. According to a study by University of Illinois, participants performed significantly better on tests of brain functioning after yoga. After a few months, blood pressure, lung capacity and anxiety relief will also be improved, based on studies by University of Pennsylvania, Ball State University and Boston University respectively.

Z for Zumba: Latin-America is known for its dance moves, so you can imagine the atmosphere at a zumba dance class. Places like Fiesta De Fitness in Singapore and Celebrity Fitness in Kuala Lumpur offer zumba classes that burn away the fats and work the entire body. Join in, tone up and enjoy the party atmosphere.


  • WSJ
  • Webmd
  • Rock climbing health
  • Huffington post
  • Livestrong


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