ActiveSG aims to get more seniors to exercise regularly

National sports movement teams up with youth to create events to promote message

Senior citizens, you are wanted - wanted for more fitness activities, that is.

The national movement for sports, ActiveSG, wants to get more elderly folk to exercise regularly and grow the proportion of those aged above 55 years old who are members under the movement.

While ActiveSG did not indicate how much it wanted to grow this group by, these senior citizens currently form about 11 per cent of the 1.2 million ActiveSG members here.

Some 22 per cent of members are below the age of 18, and the remaining 67 per cent are aged 19 to 55.

The Government is targeting to get 1.3 million people on board the ActiveSG movement this year, and among its key target groups are those above 55 years old.

To reach out to more segments of the community, ActiveSG aims to work with young people at the various institutes of higher learning, including universities and polytechnics, to create innovative sports events across the island throughout the year.

One such event, which was targeted at the elderly, took place yesterday.

Decked in a Spider-Man costume, retiree Ayyammal, 65, jived to a zumba beat before taking part in a walkathon.

"Wearing the costume makes me feel young and full of energy. I like to be active by going for exercises, as I can keep fit and also make new friends," said Madam Ayyammal, who goes by only one name.

More than 200 "superheroes" - senior citizens in costumes and masks - gathered for the workout at the Bedok Sports Centre.

The event was organised by ActiveSG and final-year students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central, in a first of such student-led partnerships.

Mr Darren Yeo, 21, who heads the ITE College Central organising team, said the idea for a "superhero" theme came about as a way to thank the elderly for being a part of Singapore's nation building.

The team from the event management course took about six months to plan the project.

East Coast GRC MP Lee Yi Shyan said that many residents may be reluctant to join the activities alone.

"But, once they are in a group, they will have friends who can encourage them and remind them to come down," said Mr Lee, who added that about two in five residents in his constituency are above 50.

Sport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin said that the body is working on a senior sports club under the ActiveSG umbrella and hopes to encourage seniors to rope in their friends to exercise.

He said that having youth helm community initiatives will bring "energy, creativity and ideas" to the programmes. "Our seniors here today also have a lot that they want to share with the young generation. They're here to be friends and help the ITE students learn from their experiences," he said.

Mr Yeo, a youth reserve player at Geylang International Football Club, said: "As a sports lover myself, I really hope to see more people, including families and friends, bonding through sports.

"It is much more fun that way."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'ActiveSG aims to get more seniors to exercise regularly'. Print Edition | Subscribe