Getting in shape, and having fun while at it.
Contributed by Jeremy Chua
|PHOTO: Phileo Kang|
Obesity, and health problems related to obesity, is a bane in affluent countries. Obesity during youth can lead to a host of problems and complications in adulthood. The worldwide trend in rising obesity can be noticed in Singapore, especially in recent times. Even with government initiatives like the National Healthy Lifestyle program, the average BMI of Singaporeans, especially among the younger generation, is on the upward trend—and climbing. High-calorie diets, and more importantly, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle aided by modern conveniences and technology are just some of the contributing factors.
Bucking the trend were the leaders of the zone led by Kelvin Tan, a zone supervisor of City Harvest Church, who came together to organize the UFit program for their members. In a bid to combat inactivity among young people, the UFit program involved a series of sporting activities to get the stiff joints and underused muscles moving, and the heart pumping.
“Young people are naturally energetic and vibrant, but some of us can be really lazy, prefering to be indoors and out of the heat. So we had to come up with something to suit everybody’s needs, to get everyone up and moving,” says Leow Hui Mei, 24, one of the organizers of UFit.
The UFit program was held over three weeks, with different team games such as basketball, Frisbee, and captain’s ball respectively. More than just getting sporty and sweaty, participants of UFit also enjoyed the fun and friendship. “We held team games for the purpose of interaction, teamwork and camaraderie. Participants get to hang out with a healthy group of friends, and have fun together, instead of merely shopping and eating on a Saturday afternoon,” Leow adds.
After the success of the basketball tournament held in the first week, participants came back again the following Saturday on March 27 for a time of Ultimate Frisbee, a challenging sport not familiar to many.
Karuna Chua, who was part of the winning team, found the Ultimate Frisbee immensely enjoyable and rather addictive. “Activities like these help to keep us fit; and being exposed to different types of sports is great,” gushes the 15-year-old student, from Singapore Chinese Girls School.
The name of the game is to get in shape, and to have fun while doing it. Judging by the atmosphere, the smiles, and glowing faces of everyone, fun was definitely the paramount factor of UFit. To up the motivation, the organizers even included attractive prizes for the winning team each week.
The format and rules of the games were planned with the consideration toward getting everyone involved, regardless of age, gender or fitness level. Even individuals who were not involved in the games and cheering at the side also found themselves getting a good workout.
Along with the fun factor was the main aim of UFit to kick-start an active lifestyle among the youths. Says Gordon Neo, 14, from Westwood Secondary School, “UFit involves everyone in fun and interesting activities. Sometimes, we may want to try out something new, but there is no one to teach us or organize events like this on a larger scale. UFit has definitely provided us with that outlet.”
Certainly, that is the direction UFit hopes to advance toward. “After this, we are thinking of branching out to different activities and sports, so that things will be kept fresh and engaging, at the same time healthy and wholesome,” Leow states.
Teo Wee Hao, 15, from Commonwealth Secondary School, joined UFit’s Ultimate Frisbee at his friend’s invitation. Says Teo, “It is very important for young people like us to keep fit and have fun at the same time.” Hearing the organizers’ plan for different sports and activities in the pipeline, Teo enthuses, “I will definitely be interested in joining and learning different kinds of sports.”
Tan, who spearheaded UFit, feels that so far, the initiative has been a great success. “I am especially heartened by the totality of everybody’s engagement; regardless of age and gender, player or non-player, everyone got involved in being active. More importantly, we all had good clean fun while keeping in shape.”
Judging by the amount of perspiration involved, one might not say “clean,” but without a doubt, good and fun.