Encouraging S'poreans to stay active and healthy through sports

Ms Rachael Foo, 20, an intern at Active Lab, giving pointers to Ms Humairah Hameed and Mr Ivan Kua at the Active Health On-Boarding session.
Ms Rachael Foo, 20, an intern at Active Lab, giving pointers to Ms Humairah Hameed and Mr Ivan Kua at the Active Health On-Boarding session.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Now that the festive season feasting is over, part-time dietitian Ivan Kua, 32, is ready to get fitter.

He is on the lookout for exercise classes that target the core so he can lose more fat around his waist.

Mr Kua found out his body fat level was a little high at a health check and consultation session on Nov 25 at Our Tampines Hub.

Called the Active Health On-Boarding programme, it is part of the Active Health initiative by Sport Singapore to get more people to take charge of their health through sports and fitness.

It is one of the ways to achieve Sport Singapore's 20-year road map - Vision 2030 - to get people healthy through sports.

The one-hour group session included a body fat analysis. Mr Kua said it showed that he needs to lose more body fat, as his fat level is slightly above the recommended level.

"I also know where my problem areas are and what my basic metabolic rate is. My problem area is my tummy," he said.

"With the test, people can see what weight they need to be and what BMI they should be at."

Mr Kua had led a sedentary lifestyle before deciding to do something about his weight last year.

He shed 8kg over six months by watching his diet as well as doing light exercises - walking and running for half an hour twice a week. He is now 62kg with a body mass index (BMI) of 23.7, and he aims to lose more weight. His BMI, which is above 23, shows that his weight is outside the healthy weight range for his height of 1.62m.

Since the first Active Health Lab opened at Our Tampines Hub in last August, slightly over 1,000 people have gone for the Active Health On-Boarding sessions, said Dr Chiang Hock Woon, deputy chief executive officer of Sport Singapore.

The session is not just for the elderly or those who do not exercise. About one in three who went through the session was 30 to 45 years old, said Dr Chiang.

Ms Humairah Hameed, 30, a dietitian, went for the session with her friend, Mr Kua. While she has always tried to keep active and is passionate about health issues, there was a surprise waiting for her.

"My weight is normal but my body fat percentage is on the high side. Many people don't realise this as they usually focus on weight alone," she said.

"What I like about the session was that they also measure your blood pressure. They tell you what heart rate you should target when you exercise. For example, if you exercise and (you're still able to do an activity such as) sing, then the intensity is not high enough."

Ms Humairah goes for a group fitness class once a week and does body-weight exercises at home, but does not stick to a fixed routine.

"After this On-boarding session, I will try to exercise at least twice a week and will try not to skip the class," she said.

" I want to reduce my body fat percentage and keep my blood pressure level in the normal range."

Those who complete the On-boarding session can move on to fitness assessment tests and activities such as themed group classes or workshops. Sport Singapore said it will give more details soon.

More Active Health labs will also be opened. The next one is in February at HeartBeat@Bedok and will be run by a team of Active Health experts and support staff.

Joyce Teo

• For more information, e-mail activehealthlab_tampines@sport.gov.sg or call 6386-7308.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2018, with the headline 'Encouraging S'poreans to stay active and healthy through sports'. Print Edition | Subscribe