I was extremely lucky to catch Dr Fong for a short chat. She is an avid long-distance runner and competitor, medical doctor and mother. She recently completed the 50km Ultra-Trail Australia in May. This year alone, she has completed three races, Lantau 25km trail race, TPW Garmin Singapore 5k and Ultra-Trail Australia.
She spoke to us about her medical practice, helping her patients pursue a healthier lifestyle, and finding time to train for long-distance running.
The prevailing trend of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure affects Singaporeans as well as the rest of the world. The sedentary lifestyle, excess refined carbohydrates in most convenience foods, eating out, lack of exercise and stress are affecting the younger people, as young as teenagers.
There are preventions and steps we can take to minimise the risk of these diseases:
- Exercise – start small. It can be walking, aqua aerobics etc.
- Prepare your meals at home and no eating at food courts. Cooking at home for your own meals means you get to control what goes into your food. Bring your meals to work. If you must, make food court delicacies a treat and not the norm.
- Diets – don’t get hung up on specific diets. The best diet is what you can maintain for the rest of your life.
For those who might say that it costs more to be healthy. Look at the option between being on medication the rest of your life or taking an active role in keeping you and your family healthy. Some tips to keep within budget, buy in bulk, buy frozen, buy during the discount periods.
Training for long distance races
- Workout everyday for at least an hour.
- Mix up your workouts between cardio, stretching (pilates, yoga) and strength such as weights.
The races are usually overseas, and the topography is different from Singapore. Have a strategy. Plan the training around it. Train yourself to eat real food while exercising so that during the race your body adapts to it. She eats real food continuously from 5km mark onwards.
Dr Fong Lian Im: “Find a little bit of time and do the best you can. We tend to put ourselves last. You have to fit in the time for exercise and to look after yourself first to look after others. You don’t need to have a podium finish, it’s meant to be fun. If it’s not fun, you don’t need to do the race.”
Find Dr Fong Lian Im here https://www.healgroup.sg/