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21 Aug 2020

In this global pandemic, when wearing a face mask is mandatory, one of the most common misconceptions surrounding the use of such masks is that they limit the amount of oxygen getting into the body.

Other sensational, albeit misleading, online posts have also incorrectly claimed that masks “retain carbon dioxide,” “increase toxin inhalation” and “shut down the immune system”. Fortunately, these myths have since been debunked.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that wearing a fabric face mask even while running does not impair oxygen levels in the blood.

Dr Joshua Li, a 33-year-old sports doctor at the Singapore Sport & Exercise Medicine Centre, gamely took up our challenge and wore a reusable fabric face mask* while running 5km on the treadmill. Joshua also happens to be an endurance athlete. This face mask was made of a breathable material, suited for light to moderate activities. Throughout the run, his oxygen levels were monitored at regular 1-minute intervals using a pulse oximeter (a device that measures the concentration of oxygen carried in red blood cells). His heart rate was also recorded through a chest strap, to help gauge the relative intensity of the activity. Established as an “easy run” by Joshua’s standards, the treadmill was set at a constant 5:30 min/km pace all through the 5km run.

At the end of 5km, Joshua’s tabulated oxygen readings revealed that his average oxygen saturation (SpO2) was 96.9%, well within the normal acceptable range of 95% and above. His average heart rate was at a low 108.5 beats/min, placing his run in the lower range of light-intensity exercise (57-63% HRmax).

Eager to ascertain if wearing a face mask really did not decrease oxygen levels while running, Joshua immediately proceeded onto a second 5km treadmill run at the same pace – this time without any face coverings.

“Running my second 5km without a face mask on definitely felt easier as I didn’t have an additional barrier when I breathed,” Joshua reflected, “I also had to change my breathing technique while wearing a mask”, referring to his need to breathe in through his mouth with a face mask on, as opposed to his usual “nose-in, mouth-out” breathing technique.

Joshua’s additional effort while breathing with a mask was mirrored in the small increase in average RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) with and without a face mask (2.4 vs 1.9 respectively, on a 1-10 scale). No doubt, wearing face masks have been shown to increase breathing resistance, even while not doing exercise.

Interestingly, Joshua’s average oxygen saturation for his second run without a mask was 96.0% – slightly lower than that measured with a mask on, though probably not of any significant difference clinically. His average heart rate remained low at 108.3 beats/min, implying that the earlier run with a mask did not impose any additional physiological strain.

“While current local guidelines do not require us to wear masks while doing moderate-intensity exercise, this little experiment shows that light intensity running with a mask does not impair blood oxygen levels in a healthy individual” said Joshua when asked what he could take away from the study. “In crowded running trails where safe distancing is not possible, I’m now happy to know that I can safely wear a mask while running,” added the avid runner.

As Joshua is a young, healthy and fit individual, it goes without saying that the above anecdote and comments pertain only to those without any underlying heart disease, running at a comfortable pace.

As a final piece of advice, Joshua added, “With all this focus on face coverings, wearing a face mask is but one of the many ways to decrease the spread of COVID-19 – safe distancing measures and good hand hygiene are equally of paramount importance! So do keep to the left and give one another at least a 1-m berth, if not more.”

Study and article by Dr Stephanie Ong, Sports Medicine Registrar, Singapore Sport & Exercise Medicine Centre (SSMC).

Dr Joshua Li is a multiple full Ironman triathlon finisher, with a marathon personal best timing of 2:53 at the New York City Marathon ’19. He practices as a Sports Medicine Registrar at SSMC.

*Fabric mask used in this study was Dermacool™ Shield. A nanotechnology-enhanced face mask designed for optimal breathability with anti-chafe, anti-odour, high-wicking, UV-blocking and anti-bacterial properties.

14 Aug 2020

Looking for ways to reduce risks of getting cancers? Read on to see how.

7 Aug 2020

A balanced diet containing grains, protein foods, fruits & vegetables is important to keep us healthy and fuel our energy needs.

Grains and alternatives are a source of carbohydrates which provide glucose and vitamin B –important nutrients in energy production while protein helps maintain strength and immunity.

Fruits and vegetables are not only a source of fibre but contains many minerals such as potassium that helps regulate blood pressure and muscle contraction . They are also sources of anti-oxidants e.g. vitamins A & C that help fight against inflammation and protect against free-radicals from oxidative stress.

And since it’s August, let’s celebrate the Nation’s Birthday by including red and white coloured foods in our diet (see image)

Other than having red and white coloured foods, remember to keep your daily diet varied by eating the colours of the rainbow to reap many health benefits.

Do eat in moderation using the My Healthy Plate as a visual tool to help cultivate healthy eating habits and portion control which is helpful in managing weight and chronic disease


31 July 2020

Most adults will experience low back pain (LBP) sometime in their lifetime. Regardless of your pain level, being active boosts your mood and just makes life go better.

Experts recommend that people with chronic LBP try to get the same amount of activity as the general public.

Credit: EIM Global

24 July 2020

Strength training is important for people with diabetes because it builds muscle. Muscle tissue plays a big role in managing blood glucose, and you don’t have to be a body-builder! Plus, strength training can make daily activities like lifting laundry baskets or yard work easier and safer.

Learn more about being active with type 2 diabetes:

More tips:

Credit: EIM Global

17 July 2020

Staying active is important for people living with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Aerobic activity increases your heart rate and breathing, and can help to alleviate some side effects of antiretroviral drugs. Build up to doing at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (like a brisk walk, light bike, water exercise or dancing).

Learn more about being active with HIV/AIDS:

Credit: EIM Global

10 July 2020

Optimising your post-workout nutrition

With lockdowns in place all over the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are seeing more and more people turn to home workouts in a bid to continue to stay fit and healthy while staying at home.

It is important to bear in mind that post-work out nutrition is also vital in helping with the body’s recovery and maximizing the benefits of exercise. When we exercise, our body uses up glycogen stores to provide us with energy and some muscle breakdown is inevitable.

Furthermore, we also lose water from our body during exercise. Below are some key nutritional tips to help with recovery post-exercise to enable better performance in the future.

1. Try to have a post workout meal that includes both carbohydrates and protein to help the body replace used up glycogen and stimulate protein synthesis. Some examples of a simple post-work out meal include chocolate milk, Greek yoghurt with fruits and granola or wholegrain toast with peanut butter.

2. Aim to have your post workout meal within 45 minutes of your exercise as some research has shown that this enhances glycogen and protein rebuilding in the body.

3. Remember to rehydrate your body with adequate fluids after your workout to optimise the benefits of your exercise.


8 July 2020

Research we are conducting a study to evaluate the relationship between sleep quality, physical activity and mental well-being in older adults during this challenging period to develop a holistic approach to their care.

If you are >60 and residing in Singapore, we hope that you will help by completing this 10-minute online survey.

Please click on the link to participate Thank you!


If you have any queries, you can reach Siti Zubaidah ( [email protected] or at 68501806)

Dr. Mandy Zhang ( [email protected] )

By completing and submitting this survey, you are indicating your consent to participate in the study. Your participation is very much appreciated.

3 July 2020

Emerging epidemiological reports on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in children show that they are less likely than adults to be infected and have severe illness. Why do young children seem to be less affected by COVID-19?

Shlomit Radom-Aizik, Ph.D., explores why this may be happening in the latest post on the EIM Blog:

Credit: EIM Global

26 June 2020

With the COVID-19: Phase 2: Dr Mandy Zhang, Deputy Director of EIM Singapore share tips on how to stay safe in the gym, yoga studio and swimming pool can be observed.

19 June 2020

Exercising is probably not top of mind as we struggle with how to protect ourselves, our families and our communities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Perhaps it should be, because physical activity can be a valuable tool for controlling COVID-19 infections and maintaining quality of life.

A call to action for physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic from Drs. Jim Sallis and Mike Pratt:

Credit: EIM Global

12 June 2020

Regular physical activity can be highly effective in the management and prevention of hypertension (high blood pressure).

Learn about being active when you have hypertension:

Credit: EIM Global

22 May 2020

Exercising while on your period might seem like a counterintuitive thing to do, but there is actually no scientific reason you should skip out on your workouts during your menstrual cycle.

In fact, there’s growing evidence that exercise can be helpful during this time in alleviating many symptoms associated with your cycle.

The bottom line is this: Continue with exercise, but back off on the intensity, especially if you’re feeling fatigued. Vary your workouts, take extra time to recover, and honor what you’re capable of.


19 May 2020

Is it safe for you to fast while pregnant? How do you couple this with physical activities and exercise to keep yourself fit during pregnancy?

Dr Huang Zhongwei, EIMS Advisory Board Member and Dr Fadzil Hamzah, EIMS Director of Community Programmes, share with you how you can safely do so, in this collaborative piece.





15 May 2020

Many are saying they are finding hard to squeeze out time to exercise. Do you think this statement is valid?

Let's see what the experts go to say..

12 May 2020

One of the great benefits of exercise is the bodily adaptations that regular exercise brings about.

These adaptation are what makes us fitter, healthier, and live longer. With adequate training, the heart grows bigger and becomes a more effective pump, enabling it to deliver more blood per minute to the whole body. However, in those with heart disease, the heart also changes, but in a way that adversely affects the pumping capacity or efficacy.

Sometimes, athletes can have heart disease as well, and it can be difficult to detect the heart disease amidst the adaptive changes that normally happens in an athlete's heart.

To better understand and define the adaptive changes in an athlete's heart, and thereby help doctors detect heart diseases among athletes, cardiologists and sports physicians in Changi General Hospital collaborated to study strain patterns in the hearts of Singapore's athletes, using echocardiography (ultrasound imaging of the heart), do click the link below to found out more.

8 May 2020

Pregnancy is a unique time and opportunity to optimize health behaviors. All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout their pregnancy, including previously inactive, those with gestational diabetes and those overweight and obese.

This brand new handout from the American College of Sports Medicine highlights the benefits of physical activity for pregnant women, recommendations, safety precautions and special considerations for postpartum. Free download:

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

1 May 2020

Do you know that you can dance your way from dementia, depression and death? Read on to find out more!

24 April 2020

For Muslims worldwide, Ramadan starts today.

Here's how you can celebrate the fasting month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in a more active and healthier way.

Dr Fadzil Hamzah, EIMS Director of Community Programmes, shares with you how you can safely do so.


21 April 2020

Influence of restrictions on public life during the coronavirus pandemic on physical activity and subjective well-being: A Multinational survey

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Covid-19 pandemic has abruptly impacted our lives. Singapore has imposed restrictions (e.g. Circuit Breaker among other measures) in order to reduce social contact and, with this, contain the pandemic. Regular access to gyms, sports clubs or sports facilities is no longer possible.

Together with scientists from Frankfurt University (Germany), Harvard Medical School (USA) and the University Medical Centers Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Singapore Sports Medicine Centre hopes to better understand the impact of these restrictions on exercise behavior.

If you are 21 years old and above, and living in Singapore, we hope that you will help by completing this brief online survey assessing your physical activity levels and well-being during this pandemic. Our survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Please click on this link to participate in our study:

If you have any queries, you can reach me at 6936 5681.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,
Adj A/Prof Benedict Tan
Department of Sport & Exercise Medicine
Changi General Hospital

17 April 2020

Are you avoiding exercise because you don’t enjoy it? A study has shown that putting on your favorite tune might be one way to turn this around.

10 April 2020

Do you experience intermittent claudication when you exercise? Read on to find out on the gold-standard advice for patients with this condition.

9 April 2020

Dear Fellow Exercise Enthusiasts,

By now, we all know why it is important for all of us to practice safe distancing. Just as water droplets and aerosols disperse differently in an open area compared to an enclosed room, the dynamics would be different when people are standing still versus moving. The link below is a great reminder that we need to adapt our social distancing measures when we walk, run, or bike.

On top of that, do note that when we exercise, our minute ventilation (the volume of air that we inhale or exhale every minute) can increase to 180 L/min and 130 L/min for men and women respectively (25-30 times higher than at rest)! At maximal exercise, each exhalation can be rather forceful, potentially expelling lots of viral particles into the air if the exercising person were infected. Likewise, the exercising individual is also sucking in an extraordinary amount of air, sucking in whatever is in the air, and delivering it deep into the lungs.

The bottom-line is, when exercising, do take safe distancing up a notch at least.

Stay safe and exercise safely!


Adj A/Prof Benedict Tan


Exercise is Medicine Singapore

6 April 2020

Schools and community centers are closed. Sports activities are suspended. Children are home all day. How can parents keep their children active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — and maintain their sanity?

Check out this advisory targeted to the little ones on staying physically active during this time:

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

3 Apr 2020 (With Revision on 6 April)

Many are asking how do they continue with their exercise regime when they are not encouraged to visit gyms.. do you face the same question too?

Fret not! Here's an advisory from EIM Singapore to stay active during the COVID-19 Pandemic!

Stay Active, but be safe. Stay hopeful but be helpful!

Credit: Exercise is Medicine



27 Mar 2020

Want to move more during the day, but you're stuck behind a desk? Invite a co-worker to take a 10-15 minute walk at lunch time a few days a week. It will increase your energy and give you time to get to know them better!

More tips:

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

20 Mar 2020

You are what you eat

You are what you eat, good nutrition is essential for good health. In this article, the author discussed 5 nutrients (Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zinc) that are involved in building our body’s immune system and protect us from illnesses.

Obtaining your nutrients through healthy whole foods can be delicious and as quick and easy as health supplements.

Check out the dietary sources of these 5 important nutrients through this link:…/protect-your-health-with-immune-…

Eat right to Stay healthy!!

19 Mar 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can make it challenging to maintain a physically active lifestyle. For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity is important for staying healthy!

Compared to just sitting around most of the time, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity can help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety (which many of us may be feeling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Check out this free handout with advice on staying physically active during this time:

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

13 Mar 2020

Many are asking "Does walking 10,000 steps a day really help in your weight loss efforts?" Do you think so?

Deputy Training and Education Director of EIM Singapore gave her advice in this article.. read on......

27 Feb 2020

Do you think you can still proceed with our exercise plans during this COVID-19 season? Let's hear from the professional - Dr Benedict Tan, Chairman of EIM Singapore on his advice that he shared during an interview on CNA 938.…/health-matters…/2734752753281418/

14 Feb 2020

Exercising is not merely doing a sport or running in a gym, it builds bonds too!

Read on with some love from us!

31 Jan 2020

Small choices can add up to significantly increase the number of steps you take each day. Try parking further away from your destination, getting off the bus or subway a stop early and taking the stairs whenever possible!

More tips on increasing your daily physical activity levels:

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

22 Jan 2020

Chinese New Year is just around the corner.. Here are some stay fit tips to survive through CNY season healthily.. read on..…/stay-fit-tips-for-chinese-new-ye…

10 Jan 2020

In this age where information is so readily accessible, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the many conflicting messages of what healthy eating truly entails.

In the video, Dr Mike Israetel succinctly summarises key findings on diet and health, and through an easy-to-understand pyramid he lays out the rules of diet design.

Dr Israetel was formerly a professor of Exercise and Sports Science in the School of Public Health at Temple University in Philadelphia, and has worked as a consultatant on sports nutrition to the U.S Olympic Training Site in Johnson City, TN.

3 Jan 2020

Exercise does more than just weight loss. So don’t be fazed when you haven’t lost a pound despite exercising regularly ..…/if-you-exercise-lose-weight-y…

27 Dec 2019

An extra 15-minute daily walk could boost global economy: Study…/who-study-extra-daily-walk…

20 Dec 2019

Even a little exercise may help people avoid and survive many types of cancer, according to new exercise guidelines released today that focus on how exercise affects cancer outcomes.

Gretchen Reynolds of the The New York Times covers the newly released ACSM roundtable papers on exercise and cancer:

Credit: Exercise is Medicine

13 Dec 2019

How Exercise Can Help Depression in Kids

6 Dec 2019

Muscling Up on Mental Illness: How Exercise Can Help Both Body and Mind

29 Nov 2019

Having problems with your aching hands? Read on to find out how you can relieve the pain with the exercises recommended in the article!

22 Nov 2019

Are you thinking of travelling overseas and to a far away destination for the year-end holiday?

Crossing time zones can throw off your body's internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) and interfere with your ability to sleep well. Read on to learn how exercise may improve your jet lag symptoms for your next vacation!

15 Nov 2019

When is the best time of the day for you to exercise? And the answer is....

8 Nov 2019

Dancing not only offers a great cardiovascular workout but it has also been shown to improve psychological health by boosting one’s overall happiness... so how about a dance party, anyone?

1 Nov 2019

Are you having difficulties falling asleep and therefore reading Facebook feeds now?

Then you are definitely lucky to be reading this post as we share with you how exercise can be a natural remedy to insomnia and poor sleep!

25 Oct 2019

Children should not stop playing sport in run up to exams as it has no impact on results, study suggests

18 Oct 2019

Exercise can work wonders for your health, including strengthening muscles and bones, and boosting metabolism, mood, and memory skills. Now comes word that staying active may also help to lower your odds of developing cancer." - Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health

Panel Finds Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk, Improve Outcomes, from the NIH Director's Blog:

17 Oct 2019

New from Exercise is Medicine: Moving Through Cancer

The mission of Moving Through Cancer is to assure that all people living with and beyond cancer are assessed, advised, referred to and engaged in appropriate exercise and rehabilitation programming as a standard of care.

Moving Through Cancer has developed a searchable registry to help health care providers, exercise professionals and patients find appropriately trained professionals and programs in their communities.

Access the registry, resources and more:

16 Oct 2019


Our EIM On Campus partner - Republic Polytechnic (RP) had created a video and submitted it for a Mascot Challenge that was initiated by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently.

We are proud to announce that RP is the only Asia school that had participated in this contest!

So let's give them our support by giving them a Like in their video on YouTube and make our nation proud!

Support for the Exercise is Medicine® Initiative is provided by:

Contact Singapore EIM Representative | 2 Simei St 3, , Singapore 529889 | | [email protected]
© 2021 American College of Sports Medicine. All rights reserved worldwide.
Exercise is Medicine® is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine.