5 fun ways to healthy, happy and graceful ageing

Staying young at heart, no matter what your age, is the key to ageing healthily, gracefully and happily

Make old age a golden age
Make old age a golden age
08 Apr 2015

Make old age a golden age

Text and Photos: Joyce J. Chansingh

Ah, the golden years – where one has all the time and freedom to do nothing but what you please. Or perhaps it’s a time for playing mahjong, bird watching, babysitting the grandchildren or simply puttering around with new hobbies.

While these might sound like the regular retiree pastimes, today’s older people are increasingly taking on a more active lifestyle with a sense of unbridled perspective.

The adage “You’re only as old as you feel” has never been truer. Getting older does not mean we sit around feeling old and watching our bodies and minds deteriorate.

Staying active – physically, mentally and socially, and maintaining a positive state of mind are equally important in living a long, healthy and happy life.

So what exactly are some of our senior citizens doing to keep up with their physical health and extend their later years? How active are the elderly folk in your lives?

Read on for five delightful activities that will make old age a golden age. 

1. Gentle Hatha Yoga
1. Gentle Hatha Yoga
08 Apr 2015

1. Gentle Hatha Yoga

The breathing exercises, gentle movements, basic yoga poses and relaxation techniques can be especially useful for older people to help battle common old-age ailments.

“Yoga has helped me with osteoporosis and improve my flexibility. I always feel good after a class. I love it so much that I brought my sister and friends to join me,” says 76-year-old Mrs Catherine Goh, who’s been a yoga fan for over a year.

 

1. Gentle Hatha Yoga
1. Gentle Hatha Yoga
21 Apr 2015

1. Gentle Hatha Yoga

From strengthening body alignment, improving blood circulation and easing body aches to lowering blood pressure, Yoga has a lot to offer for the elderly.

Check out Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS) website for more details.
 

2. Rolling downhill
2. Rolling downhill
08 Apr 2015

2. Rolling downhill

More than just a dizzying fun activity, rolling downhill is a therapeutic experience for some elderly people. The novel exercise, seemingly, even has the power to treat illnesses from insomnia and Parkinson’s disease to cancer.

Led by a spunky 72-year-old Lew Keh Lam, a group of senior citizens would gather at Bedok Reservoir Park every morning to roll down a grassy slope. They start off by slowly spinning around several times then gently dropping to the ground before rolling down until they hit the bottom of the slope.

Lew, a retiree, whom the group referred to as ‘Master’ explains, “Rolling downhill helps with our blood circulation and when done regularly, you’ll start to feel and see the improvements in your health after 100 days.”

Started more than seven years ago, Lew had meant for it to be an exercise routine with his friends but the unorthodox activity and its mysterious healing power has since attracted people from all walks of life.

A regular participant, who didn’t want to be named, says he was initially skeptical of the rolling exercise and its healing benefits. His doubts, however, lifted when he had a firsthand experience of the after-effect.

“My wife was suffering from numerous health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure but after more than six months [of rolling daily], her health improved in big, big ways.”
 

2. Rolling downhill
2. Rolling downhill
08 Apr 2015

2. Rolling downhill

While some rollers were out there doing their thing, other participants including a couple of younger ones would relax and meditate under the gazebo to the hypnotic rhythms and melodious strains of Chinese erhu, played by Lew.

The rolling exercise is free to join. Just bring a waterproof long-sleeved top and long pants, and you’re ready to roll away!
 

3. Singing
3. Singing
08 Apr 2015

3. Singing

Think it’s too late to take up singing lessons in your 70s? Apparently not, according to 74-year-old Mdm Doris Guay.

The cheerful grandmother of two has been attending the weekly singing class for senior residents, for over four years. Organized by her estate’s residents’ committee club and taught by an in-house singing coach, the two-and-a-half-hour singing lesson, which specialized in Mandarin songs, is conducted in a classroom setting. Elderly folks, armed with music notes, revisit the songs they loved while growing up.
 

3. Singing
3. Singing
08 Apr 2015

3. Singing

Mdm Guay adds, “I love singing and I signed up [for this class] to pass time and socialize with the other senior citizens. Coming here every week makes me happy.”

Singing, apparently, has been proven to fight depression and even helps combat certain old-age ailments like high blood pressure and asthma.

4. Brisk Walking
4. Brisk Walking
08 Apr 2015

4. Brisk Walking

The key to staying young at heart is to keep moving, and what better way than to brisk walk your worries away. One of the less strenuous yet most effective form of exercises that’s perfect for senior citizens, a 30 minutes brisk walk to the rhythm of your stride and deep breathing is all it takes to ease stress, anger, tension and fatigue.

Well, there’s a reason why walking is referred to as the ‘King of Exercises’. Even better, join a walking group (check with your respective Residents’ Committee club) – a great way to socialize!  

5. Tai Chi
5. Tai Chi
08 Apr 2015

5. Tai Chi

Referred to as ‘moving meditation’ by some health professionals, this Chinese form of martial arts is a non-strenuous activity that involves slow, relaxed and low-impact movements, and has long been a popular exercise option for the elderly folk.

Helping to promote the flow of energy throughout the body and improve bone density, some practitioners strongly encourage the use of this ancient healing art by senior citizens to improve both their physical health and emotional wellbeing.  

5. Tai Chi
5. Tai Chi
08 Apr 2015

5. Tai Chi

Tai Chi practice groups can be found at most Community Centres and public parks. Our favourite venue is the one at the Singapore Botanic Gardens – retirees in deep concentration are seen mastering the art of Tai Chi in a shaded spot.

Every weekday morning from 9 to 11am, the group will incorporate Tai Chi sword and red fans into the practice, moving gracefully and in slow motion to traditional Chinese music.
 

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