Healthy pulse shows growth

A mass workout held on the steps of the National Gallery yesterday was attended by some of the roughly 10,000 people who took part in the launch of the second edition of GetActive! Singapore at the Padang.
A mass workout held on the steps of the National Gallery yesterday was attended by some of the roughly 10,000 people who took part in the launch of the second edition of GetActive! Singapore at the Padang.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

GetActive! Singapore programme expands in its second year, displaying greater inclusivity

Sunday mornings have become synonymous with tai chi workouts for 67-year-old retiree Loh Thin See, who practises the ancient Chinese martial art for two hours every week at the Singapore Sports Hub with some fellow-minded "kakis" (buddies).

But his workout was moved to the Padang area yesterday, and proved a refreshing change, even if it meant a shorter-than-usual session.

Said Loh, who exercises about four to five times a week: "The atmosphere is good, and it feels very different to be exercising with a lot of other sports and activities going on around you."

He was one of thousands of weekend warriors who showed up at the City Hall area yesterday.

But instead of welcoming just runners, the launch of GetActive! Singapore at the Padang - held alongside the latest instalment of Car-Free Sunday - featured a hodgepodge of sports and games for more than 10,000 enthusiasts across all ages and abilities.

Many had even gathered in front of the National Gallery at first light, warming up for the 5.2km walk and run, the distance itself a nod to the Republic's upcoming 52nd birthday.

Some who favoured a stretch toted yoga mats, while others came ready for activities such as tai chi, obstacle courses and life-sized board games.

Into its second edition, the 12-day initiative is a celebration of sport and active lifestyles in the lead-up to National Day. Activities will continue at the Padang until Aug 9, and are also being conducted at eight other locations island-wide.

With more than 13,000 registered in the sport competitions across 20 sports and 10 para-sports, GetActive! Singapore is organised on a larger scale this year. Of these, more than 3,000 are pencilled in for the inaugural National Corporate Games.

About 10,000 were entered for the Singapore National Games last year, the sport competition element of the previous edition of GetActive! Singapore.

For an event whose mission is to encourage more people to adopt an active lifestyle, such growth is positive, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

"The number of corporate partners is increasing. The number of sports and ground-up initiatives has also increased," said Ms Fu, who, as guest of honour, flagged off the 5.2km walk and run yesterday.

"We have sports for any age, any ability, so no matter the level of activity or interest, we have a wide variety of sports, exercises and games to get people interested and active.

"It's our way of expanding our reach, attracting more people and also helping more people (adopt) an active lifestyle."

The inclusion of unconventional activities such as an obstacle course, as well as more sports for people with disabilities has been particularly encouraging, she added.

She said: "The variety expansion is very interesting... this is really to bring something for everyone. The inclusivity is also something I'm very happy to see. We'd like to see this sustained in the long run."

Dex Yuen, 41, whose son Jordan is part of the ActiveSG football academy, brought his son along for a kickabout yesterday. The seven-year-old ended up with a bigger workout, flipping tyres on the Padang field as part of the obstacle course.

Said Yuen, who works in security management: "It's a wonderful initiative, to be able to experience a lot of different activities."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'Healthy pulse shows growth'. Print Edition | Subscribe