8 July 2021
Framed around the effects of fast-paced change and related challenges on “live-work-play” trends, Active Health’s latest series of webinars feature key industry experts and thought leaders as they navigate trending topics to harness health and wellness in building a high performing individual. This webinar, part of a monthly series, focused on movement, exercise and health coaching. The engaging fireside chat featured Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, President of the Singapore National Olympic Council; Dr Teoh Chin Sim, sports and exercise medicine specialist; and Mr Michol Dalcourt, chief executive officer of the Institute of Motion.
Mr Tan stressed the importance of taking ownership of one’s well being instead of relying solely on the healthcare system: “While some of us may be predisposed genetically, (there are) a lot of things we can shape, i.e. by what we eat and also especially in terms of (leading) a healthy lifestyle.”
The Speaker of Parliament also noted that while some challenges with new work trends like back to back virtual meetings may keep us sedentary, we still know that it is important to stay active. He personally tries to slot in workouts whenever he has windows of free time. “The best way is to take an active interest in being active. Even just doing push-ups for five minutes is really important and we should see if we can develop this as a habit individually, as a family, or as a community.”
As self-motivation, Mr Tan participates in challenges to help bring awareness to a charitable cause, in addition to joining friends on workout sessions every weekend. He explains that these cumulative exercises help establish a habitual routine, adding that "(When you meet your friends to exercise regularly), not only are you physically beginning to slowly improve at your own rate, socially it helps us be plugged in so our emotional, psychological and social well-being are being catered to."
Dr Teoh, Team Singapore's chief medical officer at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, agreed with the social element of exercise, suggesting from clinical experience that people who didn’t have a habit of exercising started doing so during the confinement in order to let off steam and cope with their mental stress. She, however, cautions against sudden changes to one’s routine, as they often lead to injuries regardless of one’s fitness status. She instead encourages a gradual progression and also advised individuals to be mindful of their diet while working from home, promoting a holistic approach to one’s health and wellness.
Fireside Chat with Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Dr Teoh, and Mr Michol Dalcourt
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”This new world that we’ve created does not commensurate with healthy outcomes,” added Mr Dalcourt, who emphasized the need to adapt to the evolving lifestyle trends. “As we’ve evolved in our current landscape as developed nations, we have to start to rethink how we shape our behaviours within this new world, in order for us to be truly effective in putting ‘healthspan’ on our lifespans.”
Health and wellness coaching, therefore, become highly important, as Mr Dalcourt explains, through reflection and appreciative inquiry into what one values. “Physical activity I don’t have an affinity for, but I love dogs, as an example, right? And all of a sudden through this process of discovery you realize ‘Hey, wait a second, I can walk a dog and that IS physical activity!’ But to you, it would be something more meaningful and perhaps something that you might follow through for the long term because it anchors into a value set that you hold to be true.”
It is recommended that individuals who are unsure how they should exercise or wish to understand their health, fitness, and wellness status consult the services of the Active Health Coaches who are allied health professionals at Active Health Labs located island-wide for preventive healthcare and exercise advisory. Designed to enable Singaporeans to live life to the fullest, Active Health is powered by sport science and principles from the Exercise is Medicine©, a global initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine, around the four health and wellness domains of physical activity, nutrition, sleep and screen time management.
Urging the attendees to set aside time to get moving, Mr Tan summarized: "It's our well-being and our lives. We owe it to our families to live long and healthily. It's also a great time for the family to exercise together. Hopefully, with (relaxed safety measures), more people can go out for walks as a family. The good thing is it doesn't cost anything and we have wonderful parks and park connectors to enjoy. There are lots of places to explore in Singapore and we can keep active at the same time." Mr Tan also nudged leaders of their respective organizations to encourage the adoption of active lifestyle practices at work amongst their staff.
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