FITNESS IN THE FRESH AIR
Take your workout out of the gym and into the open.
We’ve seen on the preceding pages the benefits that getting sporty in the outdoors can bring – benefits that can’t be replicated in a gym. With Singapore’s climate allowing year-round exercise, now all you need is to choose what to do! Here are six different ideas for some outdoor inspo.
Gather friends or family and head to the trails in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve, The Southern Ridges, Macritchie Reservoir Park or any one of Singapore’s many green spaces for a group workout in lush scenery. You’ll engage different muscle groups all at once, including your core, thighs, calves and ankles, while also building cardiovascular strength and burning calories. At the end of the trail, you’ll have improved your fitness and had a fun day out. A win for everybody!
#2 Dragon Boating
This ancient Chinese tradition is also a killer full-body workout. Paddling one of these bad boys works the arms and shoulders, while your back, abdominals, chest, hips and thighs are all engaged as well. Missing practice is a no-no, so you’re less likely to skip a workout; and, with so many people, movements and paddles involved, you’ll develop a heightened sense of awareness as you move in sync with your fellow paddlers.
#3 Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
This workout looks deceptively simple, but get on a board and you’ll work muscles you never knew existed. The common misconception is that SUP requires upper body strength. In reality, you will need to engage every fibre of your core, upper body and legs. A session on the SUP board will help improve balance and overall strength while increasing endurance. Best of all, if you take a tumble, you land in the water. There’s also SUP Yoga (stand-up paddle yoga), a challenging and relaxing workout all at once – you’ll get to zen out but also enjoy some major cardio and core engagement.
Here’s another water-based activity that will challenge your muscles and get your heart racing. Think of wakeboarding as doing squats – on water. It takes significant arm strength to pull yourself up, but your legs, too, are constantly working and your core is engaged in keeping you upright. Not for the faint-hearted, it will take several sessions to build the strength and skill required.
Developed in France, Parkour, which uses movements from military obstacle course training, is a relatively new type of workout that’s gaining popularity, with more and more training programmes popping up throughout Singapore. The idea is to navigate from one point to another without using any assistive equipment – just the body – and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. It involves running, crawling, balancing, climbing, vaulting, swinging, jumping, rolling and other calorie-busting movements.
#6 Rock Climbing
If you’re looking for something completely different to keep you fit, try rock climbing. The SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre has walls of varying heights and difficulty levels. You’ll need arm strength to pull your body up while your thighs and calves simultaneously push you, making it as good as any gym workout. You’ll also need to concentrate as you plot your course to the top. If you prefer the real deal, Bukit Timah Quarries offers routes for the novice as well as the experienced climber. Just be sure to put on your safety harness before you start!