Immobility will ruin us so let’s walk! (Ridge Walks 2019)

Kent Ridge is a lovely backyard to have in NUS, and we have conducted many natural history and heritage walks there. Being part of the Southern Ridges, a walk of some 9km walk will take you from NUS to Harbour Front. So we also have a landscape for a work out! 

But we are all so busy. And many of our fellow NUS staffers are in the same boat. A number of NUS staff are able to make it at the official knock off time of 5.30pm on Fridays, so a few of us – Kenneth, Airani, Weiting, Joleen and myself, began rousing some away from their desks in 2016. Last semester’s plans fell apart, due to many deadlines, volunteer and stakeholder appointments. This semester,  we are making a valiant effort too reinitiate this. 

And so we are offering these Friday briskwalks:

  1. Fri 6 Sep 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  2. Fri 27 Sep 2019 (YIH to Harbourfront MRT; ~8km)
  3. Fri 18 Oct 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  4. Fri 8 Nov 2019 (YIH to Hort Park; ~5km)
  5. Fri 15 Nov 2019 (YIH to Harbourfront MRT; ~8km)

All are welcome. Just check the NUS Toddycats Eventbrite page for details and registration.  


Click for the larger image

Fri 13 May 2016: 5.30pm – Briskwalk with the NUS Walking Club to Alexandra Arch

In collaboration with Office of Environment Sustainability (OES) and the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS), the University Health Service (UHS) initiated a Walking Club to encourage highly immobile desk-bound NUS staff to start walking for exercise, amidst the company of fellow staff members.

As Kent Ridge is part of the southern ridges, we are walking monthly and progressively towards Harbour Front. The third walk of about 5.1km will be held on Friday 13 May 2016: 5.30pm. It will begin at the UHS Carpark and reach Alexandra Arch (near Labrador Park MRT Station).

NUS Staff are invited to jin their colleagues for the walk.
To register,

Screenshot 36

Future walks will reach Henderson Waves and finally HarbourFront. For more details, please see the NUS Walking Club page:

Abandon your desks on Friday evening and join us!

Rice is a greater diabetes risk than sugary drinks

The Straits Times reports Health Promotion Board (HPB) chief executive Zee Yoong Kang highlighting Asians as being more predisposed to diabetes than Caucasians. People at risk may not be obese and starchy white rice spikes blood sugar levels and heighten the risk of diabetes.

Zee presented a meta-analysis of four major studies which showed that a plate of white rice eaten per day regularly raises diabetes risk by 11 per cent in the overall population. He suggests switching to long grain white rice and adding brown rice to white rice – “Just increase the quantity of whole grain and brown rice.”

This will be familiar advice to diabetics but the wider audience should be aware as non-obese individuals can be at risk too, and Singapore has a very high proportion of diabetics in its population. Most jobs immobilises us on a daily basis and lifestyle and diet changes are necessary to preempt diabetes. To learn more, see the HPB page on diabetes.

In a related article, Dr Annie Ling of HPB advised that “exercise is important in reducing the risk of getting diabetes. Just a 15- minute walk every day can cut the risk of dying of the condition by 4 per cent.”

In relation to this, we restarted the NUS Walking Club to help encourage daily activity amongst staffers by introducing walk routes and the camaraderie of walking together. We hope to increase the frequency from once a month to fortnightly sessions once exam grading is over.

More at The Straits Times.

Tan Chuan-Jin also highlighted this MOH webpage and flyer on Facebook.


Walking Southern Ridges w/NUS Staff – abandon your desks on Friday evening and join the Walking Club!

The University Health Service (UHS) started a Walking Club in collaboration with Office of Environment Sustainability (OES) and the Department of Biological Sciences, to encourage highly immobile NUS staff (desk jockeys!) to get up and start walking for exercise.

This immobility is an urban curse and like many national medical bodies, our Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week. This is something I only achieved in seven of twelve months last year! People like me need a nudge and NUS is right up against the southern ridges which provides some undulating terrain. So with Chan Chee Mun from UHS, we plotted a series of walks and roped in Amy Ho and Goh Ter Yang from OES who have an interest in promoting walkability.

During our first walk around the slopes of campus, I enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow staff members from various departments and school. I found out that some staff walk daily while for others, this was the first time in a very long time that they had taken a walk!

When it could not escape us, I did chip in with nuggets about biodiversity and heritage but focused on maintaining comfortable pace.

Photo by Chan Chee Mun, UHS

The second walk will be conducted on Friday 01 Apr 2016: 5.30pm [route map]. This walk is longer (~5km) and we hope that over the weeks, participants will progress at a comfortable pace to be able to eventually reach Harbour Front comfortably. I just hope the haze stays away:

  1. UHC – Central Libary – Prince George’s Park – Kent Ridge Rd – UHC
  2. UHC to Reflections at Bukit Chandu (near Pasir Panjang MRT Station)
  3. UHC to Alexandra Arch (near Labrador Park MRT Station)
  4. UHC to Henderson Waves (near Labrador Park MRT Station)
  5. UHC to HarbourFront (near MRT Station)
Screenshot 08

NUS staff are invited to register, but must read the Safety Checkilst and Indemnity document and take the short Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, before registering through the NUS Calendar of Events. For details, see the Walking Club webpage.

Abandon your desks on Friday evening and join us!

150 mins exercise per week? In only seven of twelve months in 2015!

I have used Runkeeper on my iPhone since 2010 and I try to activate the app each time I engage in any activity I’d record as exercise. This includes cycling (on road), mountain biking (this year was mostly Rail Corridor and Pulau Ubin), brisk walking (mostly PCNs) and hiking (field trips and coastal cleanups). If I am trapped at home by the haze, or need to build my fitness before going on a hike or long ride, I turn to the elliptical and stair-climbing.

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends that individuals “aim for 150 minutes of physical activity every week” [HPB]. That works out to 600 mins/month (ignoring evenness). Having tried a little harder this year, I wondered if I spent enough time on exercise in 2015, i.e. did I at least achieve the minimum every month?

According to my Runkeeper data, I reached 600mins/month on only seven months in 2015. That’s unnerving.

Sivasothi N._s Runkeeper Fitness Report – Duration 2015

The months of my terrible first semester (Aug – Nov) see reduced activity every year, and this was badly dampened by the haze this year – and not made up with time on the elliptical. Other sub-par months were February and June – perhaps dampened by bouts of the flu. On the other hand, I managed a decent 1,000 mins of activity in January, May and July.

Now that I know how 2015 worked out, let’s see what I can do about it next year. Wish me luck!