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Getting seniors ready for sport

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In a bid to encourage more seniors to take up sport, ActiveSG has partnered the Singapore Physiotherapy Association to develop a fitness test for seniors to assess their fitness level and choose a suitable sport for them to pursue.

elderly exercise

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In a National Sport Index Survey conducted by Sport Singapore in 2014, 64% of respondents who exercise less than once a month, said that age and health issues were their main reason why they did not exercise regularly. Mr Lai Chin Kwang, Chief, ActiveSG said: “Age should never be a reason for seniors to shun away from sports. Regular exercise is key to ageing well and ensuring a high quality of life, physically and mentally. The introduction of this new fitness test, FIT for FUNction, will help seniors be more aware of their current fitness and give them the ease of mind to start exercising knowing that their risk of injury is minimised.”

FIT for FUNction Fitness Test 

The test requires participants to first answer a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q). After successfully completing the Questionnaire, participants will go through seven fitness stations conducted by physiotherapists, which will evaluate their fitness in the domains of strength, flexibility, balance, agility and aerobic capability. Upon completion of the test, the participant will be given a scorecard informing them how sport-ready they are. There will also be a consultation with a fitness instructor who will advise participants on which sports they should take up or avoid. The test is not limited to seniors and can also be carried out by participants aged 20 and above.

Mr Jazimin Haron, a physiotherapist from the Singapore Physiotherapy Association said: “The FIT for FUNction test can help reduce the risk of injury of a participant as it allows participants identify which component of fitness they are good or weak in. From the results, physiotherapists can then recommend specific exercises to improve their fitness and stay active. ”

Participant of the test, Mr Low Hooi Pin, 68, said: “This fitness test allows me to find out what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can improve them. From the test, I found out that I have poor flexibility so hopefully, by following the instructor’s recommendation on what exercises to do, I can carry out everyday tasks like housekeeping without suffering from back or neck pain.”

Ms Tan Sai Choo, 72, another participant shared: “I suffer from knee issues and many daily activities can cause me to feel pain in the knee so I try to limit my exercise. However, today I found out that there are exercises which can actually help strengthen my lower limb and improve my condition. I hope to start exercising more often now.”

ActiveSG offers a range of programmes that are suitable for seniors. For those who prefer to start off with a less vigorous activity, there are interest groups where seniors can try out senior-friendly activities like Towel and Resistance Band workouts as well as Aqua Aerobics, a workout done in a swimming pool where there is less impact on the participant’s joints. Seniors who are unsure on which programmes to take up may approach the fitness instructors at the ActiveSG sport centres for a free consultation.

Mr Richard Lim, 77, who took part in the towel workout said: “The fitness instructors recommended various fun activities that I can try out at the Sports Centres but my favourite is the Towel Workout as it is not too vigorous for me and I can do it anytime I want in the comforts of my home. The fitness instructors taught me a few moves which I will try to start doing from today onwards.”

The inaugural event of FIT for FUNction was conducted at a community event organised in conjunction with World Physiotherapy Day, where more than 100 seniors came down to the Pasir Ris Sports Complex to take the test and participate in various other senior-friendly activities. The next session will be conducted on 1 October at the Yishun Wellness Centre followed by another session at the Toa Payoh Sports Complex on 20 November 2016 in conjunction with the celebration of the 75th Diamond Jubilee of physiotherapy services in Singapore.

To find out more information of the FIT for FUNction Fitness Test or ActiveSG programmes for seniors, please approach the guest officers at ActiveSG sport centres.


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