An Analysis in Singapore Stair Climbing

After returning from my active volcano-trekking stint in Indonesia, I decided that upon returning to Singapore, I was going to keep up the healthy active-ness and start jogging again. After a few days of procrastinating “its too humid out to exercise, I’ll sweat to pieces before I even get out of my hall”, “I should really get this assignment done first” I finally ran out of excuses (“but I want to finish this game of bubble shooter” wasn’t going to cut it).

I put my running shorts and pump-up music on and was ready to be on my way. However, about 5 minutes into the run, my calves gave out completely, and I had to turn around and go back. Unable to understand when my body had become such a wimp (I had just climbed a volcano a few days ago and was fine), I went to sleep confused and defeated.

A few days later, a friend of mine mentioned how much more toned his legs had gotten since coming to Singapore, and attributed this to the amount of walking and stair climbing he does everyday. At first, I didn’t think much of this, assuming that he was just over exaggerating. However, after yet another failed jogging attempt, which further fuelled my desire to prove that I’m not regularly too wimpy to go for runs, I decided to look deeper into this whole “climbing a ton of stairs everyday” thing.

It even counts as a legit workout of you do it in running shoes!

It even counts as a legit workout of you do it in running shoes!

Being the business student that I am, this involved performing a full research and analysis-style report. This will analyse the amount of stairs the student in question climbs on an average day, and compare it to her decreased ability to jog as follows:

Data for this report was collected to reflect the regular proceedings of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student in questions. Such activities involve getting ready in the morning and walking between the business library, classes, canteens and lounges before returning to the student’s hall of residence and were transposed into the following graph.

Figure 1. Storeys Climbed Versus Time Graph

Stair Climbing Graph

Upon further analysis, it was found that the NTU student climbed a total of 27 storeys during a typical day, proving to be a significant workout for the students’ hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and gluteus maximus (Lunardoni, 2012). For this reason, it will not be assumed that the student is too physically unfit for jogging, she is simply receiving a comparable amount of physical activity from her stair climbing exercises.


Lunardoni, C. (2012). How Many Calories are Expended Climbing a Flight of Stairs? Retrieved from

(On a side note, I’m now just confused about why I’m procrastinating writing a business report for school by writing other, unnecessary reports)


The World of Singapore

It would be silly to go to Singapore to experience Singaporean culture, right? That’s naturally why day 2 leads me to experience Little India and Chinatown.

Little India offered brightly coloured streets selling brightly coloured flowers and more gold and silk than I knew existed. Honestly, rainbows could learn a thing a thing or two from this place!!

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(Okay, everyone just take a breath, I’m going to be slightly more serious for a second)

We then made our way to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Fortunate enough to arrive at this Tamil temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali during a time of worship, we were able to tour the interior. Hindu worshipers engaged in intense prayer in the face of some of the most elaborate and intricately carved statues I have ever seen. Although I did my best not to take any photographs while inside the temple, my sheer ignorance towards the Hindu religion seemed slightly disrespectful in face of those who took their visit to such a sacred place to heart.

A tower of carvings works its way up the exterior of the temple

A tower of carvings works its way up the exterior of the temple

Learning about new cultures and ideas from the ground up is usually something I really enjoy being able to do in my travels. However, when it comes to religion, this visit to the temple made me realise that this was not something I could dive head first into without any previous knowledge. Although Singaporeans are generally quite friendly and willing to help if they see you struggling to understand something (most often directions in my case), it was easy to tell that ignorance and social faux pas that otherwise could be perceived as a cute mistake, would not go over as well here.

(Back to normal now!)

The next stop on trip lead us to Chinatown. Even though Chinese New Year isn’t until February, the whole district had already begun preparing for the festivities. Trails of lanterns hung through the streets, “New Years Sale” signs hung in pretty much every store and the food cooking at all of the 10,000 restaurants and food stands seemed to smell amazing (too bad I had just eaten in Little India).


Being a group of tourists, we got easily distracted on our way back by several shops and museums: a really funky analogue camera shop, the Lomography Gallery Store, (where I took a ton of – ironically – digital photos) the Red Dot Design Museum, where we stole smiley-face pins from a private event we accidentally crashed and the Singapore City Gallery, where I played Zedzilla over a model of the city.

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That night lead me to the local international hangout spot – the bridge. Located right downtown in Clarke Quay and overlooking the harbour, it was easy to see why all the exchangees gather there. It had a nice, open, interantional vibe (Most of the NTU exchange students are from Canada somehow, so it was kind of nice to meet people who weren’t from my home country for once-no offence Canada). In my opinion, the bridge was a lot more fun than spending 30$ to get into a club to pay 15$ for drinks anyways (alcohol in Singapore is ridiculous).

Still not comprehending how I continue to function on so little sleep, but realizing that it’s another one of those things that I just shouldn’t question and should just accept!

Flying Into the Country, NTU Campus and Life in General

I’m notoriously bad at giving myself overly ambitious timeframes, but I’m pretty sure I outdid myself with my Nicaragua –> Toronto –> Singapore transition. To put things in perspective, I left Nicaragua on January 3rd, arrived in Toronto on the 4th, packed up my life up and magically obtained a student visa by the 7th and was in Singapore by the 9th. Needless to say, it was a busy couple of days!

The journey to Singapore took 2 full days, so by the time I arrived in Singapore, time already had too little meaning for me to be jet lagged – I was eating breakfast at 2am on the 7th and drinking a Singapore Sling the same time the next day, my body was just tired and plain old confused. However, the fact that I had finally arrived in Singapore was more than enough to completely re-energize me. Being perfectly honest, even seeing the Marina Bay Sands hotel from a distance (during our cab ride from the airport to campus) was probably enough to keep me going for several days, I squealed so much! Since Nanyang is literally on the opposite side of the country from the airport (shhhhh, I know this isn’t really saying anything at all compared to any other country other than Vatican City, Monaco or Malta, but STILL!), I had plenty of opportunity to realize how true everything I had heard about the city being clean was. Even during morning rush hour, the streets seemed spotless – and GREEN! I was definitely not prepared for the city basically doubling as a forest! Even the McDonald’s has a green roof!

After an hour of oooooooh-ing and awwwww-ing the city, I was able to go through the same process on campus. The rolling hills, modern buildings and lush greenery were probably too pretty for our cab driver, he got lost at every turn and had to ask for directions several times. It was getting dangerously close to orientation, but I was too busy soaking in the scenery to really care myself.

If this is just the arts BUILDING, I'd love to see what they have inside!

If this is just the arts BUILDING, I’d love to see what they have inside!

I ended up making it to Hall 7 just in time to meet my roommate (who, fortunately, was going to orientation as well and knew how to get there), chuck my suitcase in my room and book it to orientation.

(not like I had much time to fully appreciate "the pretty hall" right then)

(not like I had much time to fully appreciate “the pretty hall” right then)

After an uneventful 2hours of listening to how you need to watch your health because people in Singapore are prone to the occasional mild cough or cold, some of my fellow exchangees and I went to the city to hunt for living necessities (read: comfy pillows and cheap cell phones).

The nearby mall we selected as our hunting grounds also surpassed everything I’d heard about the magic of Singapore shopping. Rolex and Gucci stores popped up like weeds, and every corner you turned seemed to bring you to another corner of the world: we ended up eating dinner on Japan Street!


Despite wanting to continue on to a night out, my body reminded me that I hadn’t had a full sleep in over 3 days and forced me into bed.