|Enjoying Singapore: Staying Healthy in Singapore|
Most expatriates face the problem of trying to stay healthy during their first few weeks or even months in a new country. Besides the change in time zones, there are changes in climate, diet and lifestyle to deal with. Also, in all that hassle and worry that comes with relocation, most don't have the time nor the energy to exercise and eat right. Staying healthy in Singapore isn't particularly difficult - the government is pushing it in a big way, and there are plenty of gyms, jogging tracks, parks and swimming pools available to everyone.
Note: For information on hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other health facilities, check out our section on Health Care.
Common Singaporean ailments
Obviously the heat and humidity are 2 factors you will have to get used to when you arrive here. It's summer all-year round, with thunderstorms suddenly striking out of nowhere. The tropical climate can lead to problems like heat rash, athlete's foot, colds and flu. Other common ailments include sore eyes, heat exhaustion and minor skin irritations.
Joining a gym
Until a year ago, gym membership was only for the better-off in Singapore, as most gyms were in swanky hotels and cost thousands of dollars to join. Then 2 mega-gyms appeared and suddenly, going to the gym was not only affordable, but also fashionable.
Ray Wilson California Gym: No 1 Grange Road (between Mandarin Hotel and Somerset MRT) Tel: 834-2100
Planet Fitness: #03-14 Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Tel: 235-9622
Physiquex: #03-30 Parco Bugis Junction, 230 Victoria Street, Tel: 337-7333
There are of course still the expensive hotel gyms if you prefer something more exclusive, and also the NTUC chain of gyms found in some community centres. The latter charges low, low rates but don't offer the facilities or the personal training provided by the gyms mentioned above.
Jogging is the number one exercise for Singaporeans, and if you prefer the outdoors to a treadmill, there are plenty of places where you can run. Jog along the roads if you want, but stick to the pavements and wear bright or reflective clothes at night. Much more pleasant is the East Coast Park which has a 10-km long jogging track right beside the sea.
Parks: Look beyond the concrete jungle and you will find several parks where you can jog, have a picnic or just simply relax. If there happens to be a park near your workplace, it could even become your new lunch retreat. Near the city there's the Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park; further away there's Labrador Park, Kent Ridge Park in the West and Bt Timah Nature Reserve, the only area of primary rainforest left in Singapore. For more information, visit the
For the health-conscious or macro-biotically inclined, there are a few places in Singapore that caters to your diet:
Yoga and Meditation
There are several types of yoga styles. Ask around and try and find the best one for yourself. Some places to try:
For more information on yoga and other forms of alternative medicine, check out the excellent free bi-monthly publication Be, which you can obtain from most big cafes and bookstores.
Singapore first encountered problems with haze a few years ago due to out-of-control forest fires in nearby Indonesia. Last year, the problem was at its most serious and air quality the worst ever in Singapore. For almost 2 months from September to October, the island was shrouded in smog, which on some days, recorded almost 200 on the Pollution Standards Index, a "very unhealthy" rating. Some people took to wearing face masks, while others stayed indoors and outdoor activities were kept to the bare minimum. The implications were enormous - tourism in the region dropped and the number of visitors fell drastically.
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