Finding time for long workouts can be a challenge. But research suggests that even short jogs around your neighbourhood estate or your nearest park connector can have major health benefits that lead to a longer, healthier life.
Studies involving participants across the globe, including Southeast Asia, have consistently shown that runners enjoy not only physical but also mental health benefits.
Inside this Report
The Power of Short Runs
The consensus among health professionals is clear: you don’t need to train for a marathon to experience the major health benefits of this activity.
Short runs, defined as quick outings ranging from 5 to 10 minutes or spanning 1 to 3 kilometers, can have a profound impact on your health.
Dr. James H. O’Keefe points out that these brief runs can substantially lower mortality rates and boost mental health.
Echoing this, Singapore’s health authorities advocate for these manageable distances, especially for those navigating the demands of busy city life, to maintain regular physical activity and bolster overall wellness.
Groundbreaking Research Supports Short Runs
Delving into the major health benefits of running, a study by the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, in partnership with the IRONMAN Group, casts new light on cardio-metabolic health—a vital but less-discussed benefit of running.
This research is pivotal in understanding the long-term effects of endurance running on the heart, emphasising that our body’s reaction to exercise is as crucial as the exercise itself.
It affirms that running plays an integral role in enhancing overall health and stresses the importance of monitoring for hidden cardio-metabolic conditions that could impact even the most health-aware individuals.
Echoing the global discourse, findings from New York University’s Center for Sustainable Business also celebrate the cardiovascular improvements and life-extending properties attributed to running, reaffirming that even short, regular runs can have major health benefits.
Exerkines: The Hidden Health Promoters
The physiological benefits of running extend far beyond the immediate rush of endorphins. Scientists have uncovered a group of molecules known as exerkines that are pivotal to the body’s response to exercise.
Released during physical activity, exerkines contribute significantly to our health by mediating various bodily functions.
They are instrumental in decreasing inflammation, which is associated with numerous chronic diseases.
Exerkines also stimulate the repair and regeneration of cellular mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, thus enhancing energy metabolism and promoting overall cellular health.
This discovery underscores how even short runs can trigger profound and beneficial systemic changes, solidifying the role of running as a key promoter of major health benefits and longevity.
Mental Health and Running
On the mental health front, Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle can lead to stress and anxiety. Here, even short runs can have a major impact.
A review of research on exercise and depression, highlighted in our mental health section, demonstrates that moderate physical activity significantly lowers the risk of depression.
Engaging in running for just half of the recommended weekly exercise time still offers a notable decrease in depression risk.
Best Places For Short Runs in Singapore
Singapore’s diverse landscape offers an array of picturesque and convenient locations for short runs, ideal for reaping those major health benefits without the time commitment of longer routes.
Here are some top picks:
- Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park: With a 3km riverside jogging path, it’s nestled in the heart of Bishan and accessible for many residents.
- Bedok Reservoir Park: A 2.2km loop around the reservoir is perfect for East-side dwellers seeking a scenic run close to home.
- Jurong Lake Gardens: A relatively new 2km to 3km garden trail offers West-side residents a lush, green space for a quick jog.
- Tampines Eco Green: A hidden gem in the East, with 2.5km of unpaved paths, provides a nature retreat amidst the urban environment.
- Clementi Woods Park: A 2km loop in the West, it’s an ideal spot for those looking for a tranquil running route away from the city buzz.
- Queenstown’s Rail Corridor: A 3km stretch that’s perfect for those residing in the central-west region, offering a historical backdrop for your run.
- Punggol Promenade Nature Walk: Offering a 2.5km route along the waterway, it’s great for Northeastern residents to enjoy a run with a view.
- Yishun Park: With a 2km circuit amidst fruit trees, this park is a quiet enclave for North-side runners seeking peace and greenery.
- Telok Blangah Hill Park: A 3km trail with lush landscapes, ideal for those near the Harbourfront area who want a hilly challenge.
- Pasir Ris Town Park: A flat 2km loop around the pond, it’s an accessible spot for East-side residents, especially families, to enjoy a leisurely jog.
These spots are close proximity to residential areas, offering ease of access and the chance to enjoy nature without straying far from home.
Adopting Short Runs in Urban Life for Major Health Benefits
For Singaporeans, running doesn’t have to mean hours on the track. The major health benefits of running start accumulating within the first few minutes, making it the perfect exercise for those on tight schedules.
Whether it’s a quick run to your nearest kopitiam or a brisk jog along the Singapore River, every step counts towards your health.
As Dr. Rajesh Vedanthan from NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine points out, any physical activity is far superior to none.
So, lace up your sneakers and enjoy the major health benefits that come from the simple act of running, no matter the distance.