Centuries ago, being fat was a sign of wealth. These days, a low income is often associated with bad eating habits. As a result, more and more obese people in developed countries tend to come from lower income groups.
But in Singapore, just because you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend at some fancy MMA or Crossfit gym doesn’t mean you have an excuse not at least try to be a little less sedentary. Now, I’m not exactly Ms Women’s Health myself, but I can attest to the ill effects of sitting down all day.
Here are five absolutely free ways to exercise and improve your health. From dance classes to team sports, there’s something for everyone, no matter how much of a couch potato you might be.
1. Take a zumba, kickboxing or Kpop dance class in a shopping mall
The latest fad to hit to our shores is exercise classes held at shopping malls. A no brainer, now that we think about it, because while it’s nearly impossible to convince Singaporeans to lace up and head to the park or the pool, luring them into a shopping mall requires no effort.
Below are some shopping mall exercise classes that are completely free. For a complete schedule click here.
- Kickboxing: Star Vista (Mon)
- KpopX Fitness: United Square (3rd and last Mon of the month), Lot One (Tue), IMM (Tue), JCube (Fri), Junction 8 (Fri), Bedok Point (1st Sat of the month), Sembawang Mart (1st Sat of the month), Changi City Point (Sun).
- Zumba: Bedok Point (last Sat of the month), Star Vista (Tue)
2. Study classical hatha yoga
If your idea of yoga is a bevy of supple 25-year-old women in sportsbras performing acrobatics on a mat, or a sauna-like experience in a heated room, you’ve probably attended a class at a gym or a yoga studio.
Fortunately or unfortunately, you’ll experience none of the above at the classes conducted by the Nikam Yoga Guruji Yoga Kutir.
Staffed entirely by volunteers who are passionate about yoga and don’t earn a cent for their efforts, the organisation conducts 12 week basic yoga courses free of charge at a variety of venues. At certain venues a $5 to $10 registration fee will be charged to cover the cost of electricity and amenities.
The syllabus was designed in India many decades ago and many participants have had serious health conditions brought under control by regular practice.
I have studied yoga with this group and can personally vouch for the fact that regular practice eradicated my sinus issues. I have also managed to touch my toes for the first time in ten years.
3. Join a club that practises your favourite sport
At school, if you wanted to play tennis you could simply join the tennis club. As an adult, organising a simple game can mean hours of back and forth WhatsApp texts, rearranged schedules and, often, eventual disappointment.
In order to recreate the good old days when sporting and outdoor groups were organised and ready to be joined by anyone who was interested, people have taken to websites like Meetup and started their own groups.
Some organisers ask that you pay a nominal fee to cover equipment and court rental, while others are totally free of charge.
If you can’t afford a coach yourself, meeting up with more experienced players can be a great way to pick up some pointers.
4. Participate in a Sports Hub Experience Sports event
If you’re more of a dabbler who’s thought of trying out a new sport but are a little intimidated by those gung-ho types who look like they run marathons or practise MMA, you’re not alone. When people throw balls at me, I run the other way.
The brand new Sports Hub has unveiled a series of free learn-to-play programmes catering to noobs like you (and me). And instead of flailing around blindly while your more talented peers sail on ahead, you’ll be supervised by professional coaches who’ll try to make sure you don’t get yourself killed.
On the calendar for this month are lawn bowls, speedminton and beach volleyball.
The Sports Hub also organises regular free speedminton, handball and beach volleyball sessions, as well as fitness classes in disciplines like zumba and pilates. Check out the calendar here.
5. Join a running group
While the only places I run to these days are the toilet and the bed, if you don’t balk at the thought of huffing and puffing as you pound the pavement and didn’t fail your 2.4km test, a running group might be the answer.
Don’t forget about us when you’re gracing the cover of Sport’s Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
Do you know of any other free ways to play sports or exercise? Let us know in the comments!