While I encourage people to practice Kung Fu outdoors for better atmosphere, absolutely only train outside in the evening or during sunrise or sunset. I recommend people not to train in the sun after 9am and before 6am. It's okay once in a while, say once a fortnight or once a month, but you will be seriously exhausted if you make it a regular affair.
Putting unnecessary environmentally induced fatigue on your body will cause you to suffer 'detraining', which means your progress will be hindered after accumulating physiological stress on your body. You might even suffer from a burnout or ruin your health in the long run. Heat exhaustion is not to be trifled with as it has claimed many lives in Singapore.
There is no way to 'evolve' into a person adapted for our humidly hot climate if you are not already born as one.
My tips are:
1) Always bring an umbrella for sun and rain.
2) Try to be in an air conditioned room from 10am to 5pm.
3) If you absolutely have to exercise, do it in an air conditioned gym or any air conditioned room. The swimming pool works too. The moment you feel the heat and sweat eating into your flesh, just go into the water and soak till you have cooled down. I recommend the sheltered swimming pools.
4) Take cold showers at least twice a day. This is especially important if you are a hardcore tree hugger who prefers to sweat than to switch on the air conditioner.
5) Be very careful with food hygiene for there are much more microbes in the air and water that will rot your food quickly. I know many many Westerners who pride themselves in eating their Western raw salad here and end up having irritable bowel syndrome; they end up moving back to their country.
Singapore's heat is a different kind of heat from most of the world, it is steaming hot. Even in deserts, it is cooling when you are in the shade with some light breeze. Singapore is also different from tropical monsoon climates like Thailand and Florida where there are seasons and slightly lower humidity than Singapore. Even equatorial countries like the Caribbean islands and the Maldives have sufficient air flow from oceans unlike our windless island.
Since so many Singaporeans have engineering degrees, somebody should invent humid tropics lifestyle gadgets already. Maybe some renewable energy for air conditioning to convince those tree huggers. I was reading the news about China cities coming up with effective low carbon footprint solutions. And in Hong Kong the underpasses and connecting bridges allow shoppers to be indoor, from train station to shopping centers. Show the world that Singaporeans don't just read dead books, but can come up with innovative solutions too.
To those who say that air conditioning is a very bad thing, know that air conditioning is the lesser evil compared to water retention and rheumatism contracted in 35 degrees Celsius heat. Chinese medicine concepts were developed in temperate China before global warming took place. It cannot be blindly followed when we live in Singapore where there is no wind, after decades of global warming, with most of its primary forest cleared for our concrete jungle. Dampness is one of the harmful elements of the natural world in TCM concepts, but in Singapore it has been multiplied many times. It is the catalyst for other 'evils' such as wind, heat and cold to enter the body.
There are many Westerner expatriates and students in Singapore and a large number of them do triathlons, sunbathing and eat raw salad every meal. They usually leave Singapore right after their immigrant pass expires, or for many they leave prematurely. One of the less spoken reasons is because the dampness ailment got to them and they suffer from backache, sore neck, irritable bowel syndrome and skin diseases. Those who stay here for longer periods such as 5 to 10 years tend to eat local food and do not exercise outdoors for prolonged periods.
It's better to recognize the problem of humidity here. Train in an air conditioned room, so you don't reabsorb your sweat and the bad things following it into your open pores. You might want to consider limiting your 'HIIT intensity'. Your body is already expending a lot of its resources to recover when it is already fighting the germs in the air, water and food that you take into your body.
Many people think cold is bad for our vital energy. It is not as bad as humidity. Dampness can throw your internal balance off. It is the agent that brings cold in when you could've easily kept it out of your skin. It is uncomfortable in the UK with the cold and humidity, but it can be as bad or even worse here with the humidity and heat, especially when you are opening your pores to sweat. Some places have high humidity but are still comfortable to the human body, such as Cameron highlands in Malaysia, as the temperature is constantly between 20 deg C and 25 deg C year round. This temperature range is optimal for human comfort. Neither heat nor cold comes in too much. It is still a good idea not to over exert your body when doing sport in any humid environment. The key to comfort here is to stay dry.
I see many people from Northern China near Beijing as well as people from Sweden and Norway who say the air conditioning in our shopping malls feel very cold. This is unthinkable as our air conditioning temperature is around 22 degrees, the lowest it can go is 16 degrees, still nowhere near the sub zero temperatures they have in their country for four or five months a year.
It is helpful to travel to a cooler climate to cool off during your holiday seasons. Refrain from wetting yourself to cool off. Ice can be very disturbing to our body's sensory and energy systems as it is strikingly colder than our environment. Try to cut down on having ice in your drinks. If the vendors absolutely insist, then you should wait for the ice to melt before drinking. Follow the tips I suggested and you will find your sporting goals more achievable, and I wish you safe training in hot and humid Singapore!
Article By Leroy Kwok