In comparing my fellow Singaporeans standard, I would consider myself generally healthy with an okay fitness and stamina level. And when I went to New Zealand, I didn’t fall sick as often, probably less than 3 times per year.
In New Zealand, I met healthy 60++-year-old Kiwis who overtook me while exercising, had stamina to climb up and down hills when I am already tired and panting, and walked faster than me when carrying heavier items. They are nothing like the elderly in Singapore!
Most of the Kiwis I met above 50 have more health and vitality than Singaporeans who are half their age. I came up with this list based on my observations and research. To a great extent, I am still adopting that part of Kiwis’ healthy lifestyle today.
7 Tips to the Kiwis’ Healthy Lifestyle
1) Fresh air
Compared to the polluted city air, the air in New Zealand smells really good – clean, fresh and probably full of negative ions. My nasal pathway was clear, with little Sinus or congestion issues. Even my complexion improved with few pimples and not as oily.
2) Clean water with minerals
Tap water is dirty, with rust, heavy metals, faecal bacteria, dirt, soil, etc. I didn’t realize how bad it was until one day the water that came out from the tap was brown and chalky! Since then, I always filter water and add a pinch of organic sea salt before drinking.
I also realized that heaps of people tend to buy bottled mineral water in New Zealand, despite the claims that tap water is safe for consumption.
3) Sufficient sleep of approximately 7.5 hours daily
Most Singaporeans barely get 5 hours of sleep every night, while the Kiwis go to bed by 10pm (if they are not out partying). In fact, during winter, it gets quite dark by 6pm, and quite often, they are in bed by 8pm.
4) Daily incidental exercises
General availability is not as convenient as Singapore. For example, the supermarkets are huge and bus stops are far apart, which provided heaps of walking opportunities.
During my summer work, there were heaps of walking uphill and pushing heavy wheelbarrow, or carrying equipment back and forth. These are the incidental exercises that Kiwis do daily, which is a part of their healthy lifestyle.
5) Consumption of freshly grown fruits and vegetables
New Zealand has heaps of horticultural farms that produce large amount of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. They also have local farmers’ market that sells chemical-free fresh produce weekly.
6) Socially responsible
When one is not feeling well, sick leave is often granted. Kiwis are very trusting and have integrity that people do not fake illness. This gives them a lot of time to recuperate indoors, which minimizes the spreading of germs to others.
During my last semester, there was an epidemic of gastrointestinal virus in Palmerston North. The students affected were exempted from the final semester exams without the need of retaking.
7) Time spent outdoor in nature
New Zealand has more natural space than buildings. Parks are within walking distance to residences. Going to the park or gardens is already an integral part of the Kiwis’ healthy lifestyle as they have been doing it since young.
While most Singaporeans are short-sighed, I met very few Kiwis who have this problem (probably the benefits of a green environment).
This list is not exhaustive as there could be other factors. Personally, I felt that these are what give the Kiwis a healthy lifestyle, as compared to us Singaporeans.
Copyright 2010 Doris Chow
About the Author: Doris Chow is a New Zealand Travel Planner [http://www.FunNewZealandTravel.com] based in Singapore. She had stayed in New Zealand for 3 years and traveled extensively around the country.
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