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Fitness Study Shows 8 Out Of 10 Singaporeans Exercise Once A Week: Our Thoughts

Wonderwall.sg logo Wonderwall.sg 2/1/2023 Nicholas Yong and Ng Kai
Photo: Unsplash | Jonathan Borba

The results of Virgin Active’s recent Singapore Fitness Trends Study 2022 - conducted on 798 respondents in Singapore aged between 18 to 75, who are "at least moderately active/ keen to improve", and/or to whom "nutrition and fitness is at least somewhat of a priority in their life" - showed that more Singaporeans want to improve their fitness, health, and wellness, especially after the pandemic.

Two of us at Wonderwall.sg - Kai, who hits the gym often, and Nicholas, who prefers hitting the couch - discuss the findings.

84% of Singaporeans now exercise at least once a week, with more than a third exercising at least four times a week. 1 in 5 (23%) Singaporeans exercise more after the pandemic. 68% have changed the way they worked out due to the pandemic with 38% exercising more at home, 13% exercising more outdoors and 20% exercising with fewer people. 17% have changed the types of exercises they do, while 14% have tried new types of exercises.

Nicholas: Really ah, got so many Singaporeans exercise so often? I wonder if they only surveyed those who exercise all the time. Punggol Waterway Park is especially crowded lah, but very normal at the start of the year when everyone is like “New Year New Me”.

Kai: When I hit the gym, I see all ages there: teens, working adults, uncles, and even some old enough to be my grandfather, so this stat is quite believable. When COVID hit, YouTube home workout tutorials and shuttered gyms became the norm, so everyone got used to working out more at home, I guess. And it’s a good thing more Singaporeans are getting active - we need to stay active to eat all our good food without guilt

Nicholas: Ya! My wife says: “We work out to makan” - I couldn’t agree more!

Healthy mind, healthy body: 86% of respondents highlighted holistic wellness as their priority, with a focus on recovery and mental well-being. 82% also indicated that being fit improves their confidence and self-esteem. 73% of Singaporeans also recognise that working out regularly alone is not enough, one must also be mindful of what they eat and drink.

Kai: Looks like a majority of Singaporeans know that a balanced diet is important as well. A balanced diet is key to keeping stubborn fat (like the kind around the belly) at bay - a reduction in sugar and fried food will defo help. I know everyone is still recovering from the month-long binge during Christmas followed by New Year’s Eve, so now is a good time to slowly start watching what we eat. Pro tip: Drink a glass of water once you wake up to kickstart your system. And once your physical health improves, you’ll feel better about yourself as well. And don't forget to take care of your mental health too!

Nicholas: Ok, looks like my New Year’s resolution this year is to cut down on eating nonsense

All about health: 93% of seniors 65 to 75 years old work out as a means of improving or maintaining their general health, while those 18 to 34 years old aim to lose weight, have fun, enhance one’s physical appearance, and challenge oneself.

Nicholas: This is me! I mean the parts about “losing weight” and “enhancing my physical appearance”. It’s the only driver for me to get moving, apart from my wife who drags me out the door for our weekly runs. 

Kai: Same for me - you and I both know the effects of “relationship weight gain” . I personally have been active since young, so it’s also a mix of fun and improving my general health. Nowadays, WFH means buttock sore leh, so it’s good to get moving, whether it’s lifting weights or hitting a HIIT class with your kakis. And I also got to try something different recently, in the form of Muay Thai, with Singapore’s first and only UFC rep.

Nicholas: Ya! I need that kind of driver. Last year I got to try pilates for the first time, so that was quite interesting. Like pizza dough, my body was stretched well and good after a 45-min workout using the reformer machine. See lah this year if I get a chance to attempt something new again.

The use of technology to monitor health and fitness is strong and rising: 63% of Singaporeans use wearable tech to monitor health and fitness, with 46% already using some form of tech to monitor their health and fitness levels as well as enhance the efficiency of their workouts.

Kai: So true leh! My girlfriend got me an Apple Watch in 2022 for my birthday, and I’ve been using it non-stop. Whether it’s for softball training, at my gym or for cardio sessions, I’ve developed a habit of clocking these activities on my Apple Watch. Plus, say real, it’s quite shiok to see your watch congratulating you on daily achievements! And TBH, it’s quite a good driver for those who need an “incentive” to work out (like splurging on aesthetic Lululemon wear or swanky wearable tech). Athleisure is the new #fashun.

Nic: You’re right. There was once I rushed out of the house and forgot to wear my watch, and it really felt weird not knowing my pace sia. I tried the Huawei Band 7 as an alternative to my old Apple Watch - quite nice to have a watch with a two-week battery life. But really, any Singaporean can own a smartwatch for fitness if they sign up for the National Steps Challenge.

Men prefer outdoor running and cycling, training at a gym, swimming, individual and team sports, as well as combat sports. Women prefer more static and guided work out activities, such as yoga and YouTube tutorial workouts at home.

Nicholas: Half true, I guess, since my wife often runs with me and loves to join workout classes in the CBD. Nowadays, she is into Barre and vertical climbing - so this finding is also kinda true.

Kai: I feel it’s not gender-specific. I enjoy “slower” workouts like morning stretches with calming music, but also more intense ones like HIIT. My girlfriend loves to run or do Youtube tutorial workouts at home. We both enjoy long walks together to clock steps. It’s all about personal preference, I guess.

Nicholas: My favourite workout is the one that involves me sitting and working out... my thumbs playing games. But seriously, I don’t really like working out in groups too. I need to dust off my Ring Fit from the store room.

Yoga is the most popular type of group exercise class in Singapore: 45% of group class attendees regularly attend yoga classes, followed by spin cycling (29%), dance classes (27%), HIIT (24%), and pilates (22%).

Kai: I used to attend spin classes from 2017 to 2018, and I can tell you it’s damn shag - I’ve even seen fitspo friends kena rhabdo from overexertion during spin. As with any exercise, be careful and don’t overexert lah! A final observation: I’m surprised bouldering isn’t mentioned anywhere in this study - I got to try it in 2022 at this new bouldering gym at Esplanade, and it’s so addictive!

Nicholas: Oh! I’ve been meaning to try bouldering, I always see it on my friends' Instagram stories. Spin classes are definitely my wife’s jam. Wah speaking of rhabdo, I didn't suffer anything as serious lah but I kena some joint pain on my left foot recently, so I paused my runs and tried long walks instead. Can see a lot of nice scenery too. I’ve also been wanting to try puppy yoga too.

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