Make small lifestyle changes to sneak in more exercise, without trying too hard

Getting more exercise doesn’t always have to be the arduous task of getting out of your desk chair, changing into your workout gear and hitting the gym. Here are 13 ways you can still get your fitness fix as you go about your regular day

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When we think of exercise, what often comes to mind is sweating it out in the blazing sun, panting for a long time afterwards, then aching all over. But there isn’t always a need to do a strenuous workout in order to reap the rewards; little bouts of exercise add up to a significant amount at the end of every day. The National Physical Activity Guidelines advises us to aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA) every week. The health benefits include a reduced risk of chronic illness such as heart diseases and diabetes, as well as promoting mental well-being and reducing stress and anxiety through the release of endorphins.

Through the #MoveIt150 social movement, HPB seeks to educate the public on the importance of aiming for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA) every week. Making small changes in our everyday lives is a good start towards achieving this goal. Here are 13 ways to do this.


Set a 'no car day'

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If you drive to work (and everywhere else), set a day or two each week as 'no car day'. This doesn't mean you take a taxi or book a Grab instead; use this opportunity to get some brisk walking done instead. So hop on a bus or MRT and brisk walk to and from the stations. Bonus tip for drivers: when you do drive, always park at the furthest car park or parking spot from your destination and do a brisk walk to and from it each time.


Take the stairs

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This sounds like a no-brainer but it's not something that many of us do as it does require a bit of an effort – plus you have to make sure you're at your destination a few minutes early so you'll have time to take the stairs then compose yourself before you walk into the office or a meeting. Start by taking the lift to the floor below and take the stairs to the next floor. As you work your way up (and down) one floor at a time, you'll find that you'll be conquering the journey easily in a matter of time.


Get off the bus early

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If the bus is your preferred mode of transport, don't let it take you all the way to and from your destination. Get off the bus one stop early and do a brisk walk the rest of the way. If you're going home, you could even run all the way home from this bus stop – then jump in the shower as soon as you're home. Don't take any short cuts, pick the longest route possible for the most benefits.




Join a running group

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It doesn't matter if you are already running as a form of exercise, joining a running group will give you more motivation as doing this activity alone might get mundane after a while. Search for one online or join in HPB's free i-Run sessions. The weekly runs of moderate to vigorous-intensity are led by professional trainers and pacers and take place at scenic locations across Singapore. You'll also get tips on topics like how to improve your running technique or prevent running injuries. Check out here for more information.


Look for special deals

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Peruse various local deal sites to find fitness deals on activities such as Yoga and Pilates classes, as well as fitness passes to gyms in Singapore.

If you're an early riser, HPB's Sunrise In The City programme allows you to choose over 60 workout sessions at over 30 locations – for free. Classes include Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, HIIT, Jumping Fitness, KpopX fitness and more, at locations such as True Fitness, Fitness First and Real Yoga. Sign up for your schedule here.


Find more reasons to go to the gym

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Going to the gym doesn't just have to be about getting fit; your gym sessions could also be your perfect 'alone time' where you get to catch up on music, books and podcasts. Listening to audio books while working out will extend your concentration level and make time pass quicker so you'll end up working out more – and not even notice.

Don't let your Crazy Rich Asians obsession end with the movie – catch up on all three books in the series. Get hooked on the saga of The Handmaid's Tale (read by Claire Danes) or find out all about Trevor Noah's life in Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, written and read by the man himself. Almost every book is available in audio form these days so find a genre you love and explore new titles.

Podcasts are also recommended and what you choose depends on what mood you're in. Get inspired by Oprah's Super Soul Conversations, where Ms Winfrey interviews someone she admires in each episode, or tune in to The School of Greatness, where former athlete and bestselling author Lewis Howes shares inspiring stories from the likes of Ariana Huffington, Maria Sharapova and Cesar Millan.