Move, stretch and stay healthy as you age

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor performs strength exercises with seniors at the launch of the You Can Get Moving Campaign at the Canopy at J Link on March 26, 2017.ST VIDEO: MARK CHEONG
HPB yesterday launched seven sit-down exercises to help seniors build upper body strength and improve balance and flexibility, as part of its You Can Get Moving campaign. The sit-down moves involve swivelling and stretching motions which strengthen m
HPB yesterday launched seven sit-down exercises to help seniors build upper body strength and improve balance and flexibility, as part of its You Can Get Moving campaign. The sit-down moves involve swivelling and stretching motions which strengthen muscles in the arms, back, shoulders and chest.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Want to exercise but have limited mobility? No problem.

A sturdy chair and a towel are the only props needed for the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) seven sit-down exercises to help seniors build upper body strength and improve balance and flexibility.

The exercises were launched yesterday as part of the HPB's You Can Get Moving campaign, which encourages those above 50 to keep active as they grow older.

"The message we want to send is that exercise is for everyone, including those seniors who have limited mobility," said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, who launched the campaign.

"These exercises really focus on building upper body strength, so that seniors will be able to better manage their daily tasks."

These include being able to carry groceries more easily and allowing wheelchair users to pull themselves closer to objects.

The campaign is part of the National Seniors' Health Programme, which aims to help Singaporeans stay healthy even as they age.

The HPB suggests that people aged 50 and above do strength and balance exercises twice a week in addition to the weekly recommendation of 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity for adults.

Individuals who exercise at these recommended levels are less likely to fall, and also tend to see improvements in their cognitive function.

The sit-down moves developed by HPB exercise specialists involve swivelling and stretching motions which strengthen muscles in the arms, back, shoulders and chest.

"I've seen this kind of exercise on television before, but it's easier to understand when you are taking part yourself," said Madam Lim Chu Kim, who took part in yesterday's session held just outside JCube mall.

The 76-year-old Jurong resident, who goes for brisk walks twice a month, added: "It's important to exercise when you're old. You can't just sit down and eat all the time."

A video of the seven exercises can be viewed at www.healthhub.sg/programmes/113/getmoving.

Those who are unsure of their health status or have medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or joint and muscle problems should consult a doctor before doing the exercises.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Move, stretch and stay healthy as you age'. Print Edition | Subscribe