In my last article in Lianhe Wanbao, I introduced the resistance tube and how it is one of the lightest and most easily portable fitness equipment in town. In the latest article published in today’s Lianhe Wanbao, I turn my attention to the fitness ball.

In recent years, despite increased competition from new fitness entrants such as kettlebells and TRX, the fitness ball remains a common sight both in the gyms, offices and homes because of its versatility, practicality and cost effectiveness.

If you ask me, portability is not an issue with fitness balls as it is very much lighter compared to the other gym equipment. Once you inflate it, you can just leave it in a corner. Besides exercising with it, it also doubles up as a seat as it helps correct your seating posture and helps prevent back problems.

I have a fitness ball in my room too. And I love it simply because it helps in overall muscle tone for your body. In particular, it helps in core strengthening, stretching, weight loss and muscle building. These days, fitness ball training has been further integrated with yoga, Pilates, pre- and post-natal exercise and exercise programmes for seniors.

Most people would use the fitness ball to train their core muscles. It is not uncommon to see people doing crunches on the ball. But that is just one aspect of it. What’s more important is that the fitness ball is an excellent complement to the traditional equipment like machines and free weights such as dumbbells. 

Because of the flexibility of the ball, it allows people of different levels of fitness to train using it for a wide variety of exercises. For example, instead of doing dumbbell presses on a flat bench, try doing dumbbell presses on a fitness ball. You will realize it is more challenging as it allows for greater shoulder retraction and recruits more muscle fibres for both stability and strength.

In today's newspaper article, I recommended four different exercises that target different muscle groups. They are the hands-on-ball pushups, ball plank, lunges with ball overhead and abs crunch with oblique twist.

Happy exercising and of course, have a ball of a time!

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PS: Click here to read about me in Lianhe Wanbao: Resistance Tube Exercises (29 Jan 2012)  

PPS:
 Click here to read about me in The Straits Times Mind Your Body: Mr Confident (12 Jan 2012) 

PPPS
Click here to read about me in The Sunday Times: Dressed For Success (4 Sep 2011)

PPPPSClick here to read about me in The Straits Times Life: Collectors Series (20 Aug 2011)
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If you ask me, nothing beats the feeling of being on home ground. That’s because not only do you know the surroundings well, you also see familiar faces in the crowd. And for these two reasons alone, I’m glad to be back at the National University of Singapore (NUS) at lunchtime today to share health and wellness tips with the NUS staff.

Finding time to embark on a healthy lifestyle (and that means being healthy and in shape) appears to be a mammoth task for many of us. There is no denial we play many roles in life. If you are a guy, you could be a father, brother, son, colleague and boss of someone else. If you are a lady, you could be a mother, sister, daughter, colleague and boss of someone else too!

As busy Singaporeans who pride ourselves as one of the most productive nations in the world, it’s so easy to forget that we have to take care of ourselves too!

Health and wellness is a topic so close to our hearts because it is not something totally alien to us. And trust me, leading a healthy lifestyle will benefit you and your organisation as healthier people tend to be happier and more productive!

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There’s no real secret to looking good and taking the years off your actual age. The magic is in the works and consistency is the key to that. 

I often share a three-pronged strategy that works for almost everyone. This includes having an appropriate dosage of exercise, a balanced diet and being mentally resilient. 

Do not ignore what the billboards and health boards tell you…because exercising three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time is the way to go. Exercise does not mean cooping yourself up in the gym. You can do anything you like – ranging from resistance training to flexibility training to cardiovascular exercise. The most important is to get your body moving, heart beating and you perspiring. 30 minutes may sound like a long time but it really isn’t. If you need company, grab a colleague or friend or family member along as having an exercise buddy does make exercise appear a lot more fun.

Exercise hard you may but if you don’t eat smart or clean, then you would still have wasted your efforts. By ‘diet’, I don’t mean you have to starve and deprive yourself of your favourite food. Singapore is a food paradise and not eating is simply silly. Instead, eat in moderation and of course, pay special attention to what you put on your plate. A good example in case would be this. Assuming you want to lose weight, yet if you continue to stuff your face with hamburgers and fast food, do you think you will succeed? Not a wee bit! It’s really simply math. Losing weight means you have to expend more than you consume. 

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You may scratch your head and ask me what is mental resilience all about? Well, it all starts with ourselves. All our thoughts are formulated in the mind. We are our own best friends as well as worst enemies. Every positive thought or negative thought starts with our mental CPU telling us whether to proceed or not.

You may have the best laid plans for your lifestyle but if you stop short of mastering your mind and taking that all-so-important first step forward, it’s not going to help matters at all.

Remember, we are all entitled to lead a healthy lifestyle. But no one owes it to you. Rather, you owe it to yourself to live happily and invest time in yourself to embrace health and wellness holistically.
 
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