Maintaining a balanced lifestyle can be a crucial aspect in the pursuit of a healthy body and mind. It is this very mindset that national swimmers Khoo Cai Lin and Phee Jing En hope the upcoming Hari Sukan Negara 2015 on Oct 10, will be able to instil in all Malaysians.
According to a 2014 report from British medical journal, The Lancet, 49% of women and 44% of men in Malaysia are in the obese category. This is worsened by the fact that the country has the highest obesity and diabetes rates in South-East Asia and is ranked sixth in Asia Pacific for obesity.
The biggest struggle for most people is that they tend to regard exercising as a chore rather than a way of life.
This is something that both Khoo and Phee believe Malaysians need to overcome at all costs.
“The important thing is to maintain a balance between work, health and social life. In fact, exercising just a few days a week can make a big difference,” said Khoo, who is pursuing a double degree in public relations and marketing at Taylor’s University.
SEA Games gold medalist Phee, 18, echoed her sentiments, saying that, “Sports must be made an important part of our everyday lives. A short run or walk at your neighbourhood park for one to two hours a week is a good way to start.
“As a student, I try to maintain a balanced lifestyle by dividing my time between sports, studies and my family.”
Finding the right motivation can do wonders in achieving one’s goals.
“I am inspired by the chance to make our nation proud and I am very passionate about swimming. No matter what, the beginning is always the hardest, so set a realistic goal and work towards it.
“Some people find it difficult to put on weight while others struggle to shed it. Everyone has problems. Just don’t give up,” said Khoo.
For Phee, sports can offer a temporary escape from problems.
“I just love swimming. When I am in the water, I forget about everything else such as stress and college work. It is just me and the water.”
With Hari Sukan Negara 2015 just weeks away, these talented young women believe that it will be a great opportunity for most Malaysians to get the ball rolling.
“This campaign would encourage people to exercise more and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“It is crucial for us to have a healthy community. Otherwise, we will not be able to reach our full potential as a nation,” said Khoo, who has done Malaysia proud on multiple occasions, including representing the country at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Phee, too, sees the initiative by the Youth and Sports Ministry as a positive move for the future.
“I am confident that the nationwide campaign will serve as a great way to bring people together and show them the fun side of sporting activities”.
Over three million Malaysians are expected to participate in the nationwide event with more than 4,435 sporting and fitness programmes planned.
Among the more anticipated events are the Spartan Race, The Music Run, PD International Triathlon, Score Fitmob, sports expo and national bike race.