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Meet the Dwellers - Age is Just a Number
Behind the neat, ordered facades of HDB blocks is a living compendium of lives, people and stories; some more colourful than others, but all unique and interesting in their own special way. Living by the motto “Never Too Old”, a group of seniors passionate about health and fitness seeks to inspire fellow seniors to keep on moving and age actively in their golden years.
Members of Team Strong Silvers: 62-year-old Qian Hong, 76-year-old Ng Bee Kia, 81-year-old Peng Ling Hua, 69-year-old Victor Chan
They may look like your regular seniors gathering at the neighbourhood fitness corner to do some exercises – but gasps of awe and admiration from onlookers are bound to follow the moment this particular group of seniors begin their routine.
With effortless ease, they execute impressive push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, and an assortment of other calisthenics exercises – a form of strength training using one’s body weight for resistance – that would be a struggle for even people half their age. They are Team Strong Silvers. At 60, 70, and even 80 years old, they are probably some of the strongest people of their age you will ever meet.
Team Strong Silvers was born out of a passion for health and fitness, shares pioneering member Mr Ng Bee Kia, 76. Since young, Mr Ng has always dedicated himself to keeping fit, even representing Singapore in regional weightlifting competitions from the late 1960s through the late 1970s.
While he and his fellow team members may be getting on in years, their love of exercise has not diminished and is, in fact, growing stronger as they get older. When they gather to exercise as a group, they spur each other on to push their bodies as far as they can take it.
“If we don’t exercise even for a day, we will feel uneasy. There is just something wonderful about sweating it out that makes us feel alive,” says Mr Ng. This sentiment is echoed by Mr Peng Ling Hua, who, at 81, is the oldest member of the group. “The last time I fell sick was 10 years ago,” Mr Peng says proudly.
Exercises range from stretches and handstands to spinning cartwheels on pull-up bars
Beyond staying active for their own benefit, Team Strong Silvers has a bigger purpose to fulfil. As a group, they would go around to conduct workshops and exercise demonstrations at hospitals and Senior Activity Centres, to show fellow seniors that they can be active and keep fit even in old age.
“They do not have to go to the gym or need fancy equipment to exercise,” says Mr Peng, who works out at his neighbourhood fitness corner every day. Mr Victor Chan, 69, also uses his environment to his advantage. “Instead of taking the lift, I will walk up and down the stairs of my HDB block. Or I will walk along the corridor outside my flat. You don’t have to travel far to exercise and keep fit, you can do so easily from the comfort of your home,” he says.
“This is the message we want to share with our fellow seniors: you are never too old to start exercising. As long as you keep moving and stay active, even simple exercises, such as light push-ups against the wall, is good enough,” says Mr Ng. “In doing so, you can truly enjoy your golden years.”
The seniors exercising at the fitness corner in Dawson