HealthXchange is proud to feature ‘The Sporting Doctor’, a segment which features SingHealth clinicians keeping fit doing what they love. We hope that they inspire you to get active as well, and maybe your can learn some tips and tricks on how to get better at the sport you are interested in!

Dr Chiew Yi Rong (Badminton)

HealthXchange: Greetings Dr Chiew, and thanks for taking time out to talk to our readers on your favourite sport! So tell us, what is it you do, and why do you like it?

Dr Chiew: I play badminton regularly with my friends and sometimes with work colleagues. I started playing with my father when I was 5 years old. My father was a badminton coach at school and introduced me to systematic training, so I started my own training when I was still in primary school. In secondary school, I participated in a few competitions at the state level and was in the quarter finals in some of them. That was unfortunately that was the extent of my abilities, I was never good enough to make it to the semi-finals or finals. Haha!

I like the healthy competition in badminton and since I was trained for men's doubles, I realised the importance of teamwork and communication with teammates, something that is now very useful in my profession, and perhaps, most professions!


HealthXchange: Don’t be so modest Doc! You could probably thrash us on your worst day with 1 hand tied behind your back! So what do you do to continually improve your badminton performance?

Dr Chiew: During my badminton training in the past, I was taught to study the flow of the game and plan my strategies. Also, my coach once told me, "The rally is not over until you give up". He also urged me to try every single shot. As they say, practice until it becomes a habit, so this has been my modus operandi so far.

Till this day, I study my opponents and the flow of the game, and from there, I can plan my game accordingly. I also choose my own rackets strung with a certain string gauge to optimise my game.

(Editor’s note: String gauge refers to the string thickness, not tension)

Playing regularly to maintain my stamina is also very important. I must admit that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I stopped playing for a while and when I finally resumed playing, I found it difficult to maintain my game performance. Consistency is the key.

HealthXchange: That advice sounds like it came right out of Sun Tzu’s Art of War! That just reinforced the fact that we probably would not want to be on the opposing court. Haha! What tips do you have for us to avoid injuries while playing badminton?

Dr Chiew: Always start with a warm up routine before playing. Stretching exercises for about 5-10 minutes before the game can help reduce the risk of injury. After the stretching exercises, I will also jog slowly around the badminton court as part of the warm-up programme. Also a little unorthodox, but I have seen from friends who practice Aikido that do a variant of push-ups – the wrist push-up. It supposedly strengthens the wrist, instrumental in badminton.

Proper court shoes are also important as these are designed to improve traction and are made to absorb impact, as we might be jumping or having to execute quick footwork.

HealthXchange: Useful tips to follow if we’re ever up for a game. Do your eating habits play a part in your badminton regimen?

Dr Chiew: I am not the healthiest eater, but I make sure to eat as balanced a diet as possible. People who know me also know that my favourite drink is Oolong Tea with 0% sugar from a popular boba tea chain. I try my best to reduce my sugar intake, but we are all human sometimes *wink*

HealthXchange: We truly understand…So when you are trying to unwind, what do you do for mental wellness or simply just to relax?

Dr Chiew: Besides badminton, I love classical music and instrumental music, music that helps me relax and forget about the stress at work. My colleagues know this best because they will hear music in the office and try to find the source. I also like to go out with my family, for example to the Zoo, Night Safari, the S.E.A Aquarium etc. These outdoor activities with my family also help me to relax.

HealthXchange: The places you mentioned also tell us that you are an animal lover! Nice! Does your passion translate to work? Do you encourage your patients to play sports and if so, how and why?

Dr Chiew: Yes, definitely. In neurology, we deal with stroke patients and a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of stroke for our patients, so we always encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle.

I also get asked by patients with epilepsy whether they are medically able to play competitive sports like badminton. I cannot emphasise enough that patients with epilepsy can certainly play sports like others, provided they avoid high-risk activities such as climbing, diving and snorkelling.

HealthXchange: That has all been very informative Dr Chiew. Once again, thank you, and the next time we see you for a game….give chance OK??

Who he is

Dr Chiew Yi Rong is Associate Consultant, Department of Neurology at the National Neuroscience Institute (Tan Tock Seng Hospital Campus). He joined the National Healthcare Group (NHG) Internal Medicine Residency and subsequently completed his Senior Residency in Neurology in 2021.

His professional appointments committee memberships include:

  • Associate Consultant, Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute (TTSH Campus)

  • Clinical Instructor, Duke-NUS

  • Member, American Academy of Neurology

  • Collegiate Member, Royal College of Physicians United Kingdom

With badminton becoming increasingly popular (no doubt thanks to our national shuttler Loh Kuan Yew being in the spotlight), do say hi to our ‘Doctor in Sports’ if you see him on the courts one day!

Ref: J22

For tips on how to prevent and treat common hand injuries, click here.

For running tips from our 'Sporting Doctor', click here.

For cycling tips from our 'Sporting Doctor', click here.