Active Ageing As A Way Of Life
As Singapore faces a rapidly ageing population, it has become more important than ever for it to think about how to support its senior citizens. How can the country enable seniors to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, so that they can enjoy their golden years to the fullest?
Sport Singapore is one such organisation that has gamely taken up the challenge, by introducing a pilot programme that encourages senior citizens to take up an active and healthier lifestyle through sports and physical activities, such as Zumba Gold, Fit Seat and line dance. Called the ActiveSG Wellness Exercise Programme, it is aimed at keeping their bodies moving and minds active.
Since March 2016, Sport Singapore has partnered with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital to offer the programme at the hospital’s three Wellness Centres across Yishun, in order to reach out to the seniors in the community. “By having this programme in the heartlands, we are bringing these activities to the seniors’ doorstep, so that they can exercise with their neighbours and friends in a place that is familiar to them,” explained Mr Aaron Tan, a
Programme Manager of Sport Singapore.
The response has been enthusiastic. The Wellness Centre at Block 765 Yishun Street 72 has seen a significant jump in their participation numbers – the programme first started out with 20 people, and the figure has now tripled.
“The seniors absolutely love these activities,” said Mr Mike Yoong, an exercise instructor who conducts the Zumba Gold class. “In fact, they are willing to travel further from their homes just to take part in my classes.”
Mr Yoong has carefully tailored his classes according to the seniors’ needs and capabilities. “I modified the steps to be easier and less strenuous. More importantly, they must be fun and easy to follow” he explained.
“Overall, the classes help to improve their stamina, muscle endurance and flexibility – all of which are critical in helping them carry out their daily activities.”
Mr Tan added, “At this initial stage, we want to provide the seniors with some basic strength conditioning, which will improve their functional strength. Over time, as their fitness level increases, we hope that they will take up more sports and activities on their own.”
Sport Singapore’s ultimate goal is for this programme to expand beyond Yishun and reach out to senior citizens all over Singapore. “We are confident that through this programme, we can embolden our senior citizens to become healthier, active and more independent individuals who are enabled to live better through sport,” said Mr Tan.
“As I grow older, I know it is
important for me to get daily and regular exercise. Any activity that moves my
body and my muscles is good for me.”
- Steven Foo Say Chew, 74
“We will never miss any
opportunity to exercise. Through exercise, we can
achieve a healthy body and a
healthy state of mind.”
- Mdm Zawidah Binte Suboh, 42 and
Mdm Salimah Binte Abdullah, 52
"These sports activities are good
for keeping my brain active, especially since my memory is not so strong anymore. Taking part in sports is the best that we can do."
- Mdm Kong Set Hoi, 83
"I enjoyed the Zumba Gold class
very much, because I can work up a sweat during
the exercise. In fact, I feel
more relaxed after the workout."
- Mdm Teo Gek Kiau, 77
About the Sporting Singapore Fund
Through the Sporting Singapore Fund (SSF), Tote Board supports sports initiatives that deliver positive impact on the community. The ActiveSG Wellness Exercise Programme is one such initiative funded by the SSF. The SSF is administered by Sport Singapore.