SINGAPORE - A typical onboarding session at Sport Singapore's Active Health Lab will end with a detailed body composition report which includes a calculation of body fat, muscle mass and an analysis of how much fat or muscle should be gained or lost.
This is done by standing on a bioelectrical impedance analysis scale, which works by passing an electrical current through the body.
Based on this data, Active Health Experts, who lead classes, provide participants with exercise and lifestyle advice to manage their own health. Participants are also taught to measure their own blood pressure and hip-to-waist ratio.
All are advised to return in 12 weeks to check on their progress.
The Active Health Lab is a one-stop space for preventive healthcare and exercise advisory, offering activities such as health clinics and workshops. There are two labs currently - in Bedok and Our Tampines Hub - with more on the way.
Four new ones will be opened - in Sengkang, Woodlands, Bishan and Jurong - this year. This was announced on Thursday (March 8) during a debate on the annual budget of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in Parliament.
They will be on top of the two Active Health Mobile Labs to be set up at community clubs (CCs), residents' committees (RCs), and Sports-in-Precinct facilities.
Each onboarding session has five to 20 participants. About 2,200 people have attended classes at the two labs currently operating.
Joined by Senior Minister of State Sim Ann, The Straits Times went through the hour-long session recently at the Active Health Lab in Heartbeat@Bedok.
"How are your results?" asked Jasmine, our perky Active Health Expert.
"Depressing," I quipped after finding out that my body was composed of one-third fat, despite my BMI (Body Mass Index) nestling in the healthy range.
Clearly, that was not a great yardstick of health.
But the report proved to be an impetus to get me moving.
Saddled with the goal to pack on 8kg of muscle and shed 7kg of body fat, I went for two 30-minute runs that week, clocking a total of about 8km.
That still put me at a run shy of the recommended three per week but - for someone who used to go to the gym once every few months - it was a fair start.
Said Ms Sim: "It's very good to be given specific tips… when people start embarking on exercise, or when they are thinking about watching what they eat."
Post-onboarding perks include free fitness tests in four categories - body strength, movement, balance and lung capacity.
Based on their test results, participants can better tailor workouts to suit their needs.
Journalists were given a preview of the hurdle step, a mobility exercise.
With hands clutching a bar resting on our shoulders, we had to step over a knee-high hurdle placed less than 30cm away without twisting our hips.
The stepping motion, which calls for coordination between the hips and torso, highlights the lower body areas that need strengthening.
"The Active Health Lab provides a series of tests and measurements that helps individual Singaporeans get a better grasp of their fitness-related data. And I think it provides a more scientific and objective basis on which individuals can tailor their own health and fitness programmes," said Ms Sim.