Despite their busy schedules, our doctors take care of themselves so they can take better care of you! Here, we feature our clinicians and their favourite sport, with tips on how they improve at the sport. Let them inspire you to get active!
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!
HealthXchange: Hello Prof Jod! Let’s dive straight into it, please tell us about your sport of choice, and why.
Prof Jod: I started cycling in August 2020, mainly because a lot of my friends were doing it, and the gyms were closed over the covid times or had limited timings and access.
There were other reasons as well, mainly physically. I snapped my achilles tendon in 2010 and had to get it surgically repaired. After that, I couldn't get back to long distance running like I did in the past, the maximum I tried was 21 kilometres. I started getting warning signs from my OTHER tendon, so it was time to find another exercise! I tried cross training (elliptical) in the gym, but is quite boring when you are alone.
Then my friends introduced cycling, and I haven’t looked back since. I found cycling good for me because I am using cleats, and since my foot is fixed, there is no pressure on either side of my achilles. The downside is that I cycle early in the morning to avoid Singapore’s heat and traffic! But I discovered that once the pedals start turning, the adrenaline rush comes much faster compared to running.
The good thing with cycling is I have seen much more of Singapore then I had ever seen, especially when I cycle with my friends round the island, and I love getting to see the sunrise! After a morning cycle, I also feel more invigorated for the rest of the day. Additionally, cycling is a much more social sport than hitting the gym by alone, but just be extra careful on the road or park connectors!
HealthXchange: Any tips do you have for our readers to avoid injury when cycling?
Prof Jod: Make sure you
stretch well before you start. As I am a yogi as well, I warm up with my yoga poses for flexibility, and with back and quadriceps stretches as these are the major muscle groups that are used in cycling.
I highly recommend cyclists to
get a fitness device, either a watch or bike computer. Personally, I am using a Garmin. You need to understand what kind of stress you are putting your body under, especially as you get older. In my case, I can’t expect to recover like when I was 21, playing hockey for my university team! You need that precise feedback to understand what is happening to your body, and also to chart your progress.
If the goal is to lose weight, remember to combine exercise with dietary changes. Unique to cycling, if you are on your bike very often, I would highly advise getting
a proper bike fit. A bike that is well-fitted will reduce stress on the back, hand and knees, which is important on long rides.
HealthXchange: Prof, you sound like a seasoned cylist, can you share any other nuggets of information that can help our readers get better at cycling?
Prof Jod: I have been actively monitoring my progression over the 1.5 years since I started cycling, that’s where the fitness tracker I mentioned earlier comes in! I have seen an increase in my performance, and I actually have had to downsize my kit!
One thing that could also help is to take supplements, I find that it improves my muscle recovery following rides. Besides whey, I also
take amino acids. These help to fight off dehydration, which can cause cramps. I have also found that it is useful to
combine sports, for example, yoga has improved my wellness, meditation and flexibility which has improved my riding posture and also my golf game, but the latter needs more practice!
HealthXchange: Great tips prof! We are sure our readers can try out some of these tips for their next ride. Next up, could you share your usual eating habits?
Prof Jod: I am sure it could be better :) I decided to become vegetarian 2 years ago during the first circuit breaker, and my main impetus was the environmental harm that animal farming is causing. But with an active lifestyle, I had to go back to eating fish since I was constantly feeling really hungry!
When I started cycling, it was fine for the first few months. But as an avid meat eater previously, I realized the protein and caloric intake wasn’t high enough to meet with my body’s demands. Since then, I am now supplementing protein daily with whey.
My usual diet will look something like this:
Breakfast – Something light (normally fruit) and coffee (a must have!)
Lunch - A protein shake
Dinner - Fish with some greens like salad etc. And on my cheat days, my guilty pleasure is dessert, I love desserts!
HealthXchange: Well, you are probably eating healthier than most of us (Editor's Note : at least the HealthXchange team for sure)! To end our session, tell us what do you do for mental wellness and relaxation.
Prof Jod: I find exercising relaxing, especially if you get into a rhythm. I also do yoga, which always ends with meditation and breathing exercises, which relaxes and calms the mind.
HealthXchange: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Prof, we will see you on the road someday!
Prof Jod averages about 200km per week between 3 rides, so do say hi to our ‘Sporting Doctor’ if you ride past him one day!
Who he is
Professor Jodhbir S Mehta is the Head and Senior Consultant for the
Department of Corneal & External Eye Disease at
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) .
Professor Jod also holds several clinical appointments in SNEC such as Deputy Medical Director (Research), Senior Consultant with the
Refractive Surgery Department. And Senior Consultant with the
Cataract ＆ Comprehensive Ophthalmology Department.
He specialises in the following conditions: Corneal ＆ External Eye Disease, Cataract ＆ Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery. His sub-specialties include: Corneal ＆ External Eye Disease, Cataract ＆ Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
He graduated from Guys and St Thomas’s Medical School, University of London, UK in 1995, and completed his basic and advanced specialist training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK.
For more tips on how to prevent cycling injuries and ride safely, click