Cycling gives your heart a good workout, but be sure to protect your neck and back

Looking at Dr Jonathan Tan now, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the 40-year-old avid long-distance cyclist was tubby just three years ago.

Spurred on by a colleague who remarked that he shouldn’t be eating durians because he was so out of shape, Dr Tan picked up cycling to shave off the excess kilos. He lost 7kg quickly, and is now hooked on the sport.

For the past three years, the consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s (TTSH) department of anaesthesiology has been participating in long-distance cycling events.

At TTSH’s charity ride last year, he cleared 350km from Malacca to Singapore in two days. For this year’s event, he will co-lead the cycling team, which will take on 150km of tougher terrain in Bintan (see box).

“I wanted to lose weight but running was out of the question for me because I had undergone a foot surgery,” said Dr Tan.

“Cycling was the most suitable because it’s gentler on the knees and feet than running. Plus, while you can spend one-and-a-half hours cycling, it’s going to be so much harder for anyone to run the same amount of time.”

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