Have you heard of the term ‘active aging’ or ‘healthy aging’?
According to WHO, active aging is “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age.”

1 in 4 people

By 2030, one in four Singaporeans [1] will be aged 65 years old or older. By promoting healthy living and independence, seniors will be able to age gracefully and live life to their fullest. Other than prolonging one’s life, [2] active aging allows one to live healthier, happier, and improve their overall quality of life.
Healthy aging can only be achieved when seniors are taking proper care of their physical health, mental health, and their diet.

  1. Physical Activity

Elderly man and woman exercising

Firstly, to promote active aging, one has to participate in physical activity on a regular basis. This can, in turn, help you sleep better, increase your appetite, and may lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Physical activity can improve balance, coordination, breathing, circulation, and mental acuity. It also releases endorphins which are feel-good chemicals produced by the brain. These can help reduce the risk of dementia, falls, and frailty.

Under the Singapore Physical Activity Guideline, older adults, aged 65 years old and above, should get 150 – 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical exercise per week. That’s about 30 minutes of exercise a day! [3] Seniors are also encouraged to go for regular health screenings and annual checkups.
Re-introduce physical activity slowly especially if you have been sedentary for a while. Start with 5-10 minutes of exercise, and gradually increase it to 30 minutes a day. You can cut up the session to 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day. Small steps make big changes!

Below are a few examples of group physical activities the elderly can partake in.

Physical group activities include brisk walking, zumba, line dancing, tennis, tai-chi and yoga. Participating in group activities prevents social isolation and functional decline.

Physical group activities include brisk walking, zumba, line dancing, tennis, tai-chi and yoga. Participating in group activities prevents social isolation and functional decline.

2. Mental health

Female focusing on mental health

Mental health is essential to your overall health and can influence the way you feel, think, and act. Managing social isolation, loneliness, stress, depression, and mood through self-care is key to healthy aging.

The following are some ways to improve mental health:

a. Strengthen social ties

Elderly man and woman enjoying coffee

Having strong, happy relationships with family, friends, and community members is an important factor in good health and longevity.
Through a senior citizens’ group, one can meet and connect with other seniors and create bonds through activities such as:

  • Karaoke
  • Card games
  • Volunteering

b. Finding a hobby

Elderly man and woman playing the instrument

Participation in enjoyable hobbies or leisure activities can help one remain mentally active, through cognitive functioning. It keeps the mind occupied and relieves stress. Accomplishing a new challenge or task can give a sense of achievement and endorphins. Some hobbies one can take on include:

  • Sudoku
  • Knitting
  • Reading
  • Singing

c. Learning a new skill



Seniors can improve their digital literacy. An initiative by the government, “Seniors Go Digital” is a programme aimed at seniors to pick up new skills in the digital world. With one-on-one guidance, seniors can lead a digital-savvy lifestyle. For example, how to use messaging services, make an e-payment using their smartphones, and booking transport via apps.

3. Balanced diet

A balanced diet is essential for the elderly in Singapore to maintain their health and well-being.
The following is a recommendation from the Health Promotion Board called My Healthy Plate. It is a guideline with the recommended food group and serving size to fulfill a healthy balanced diet and to fulfill your required nutrition needs. [4]

HPB My Healthy Plate

  1. Fill a quarter of the plate with whole grains. These provide fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  2. Fill a quarter of the plate with good sources of protein. 3 servings of protein daily is recommended to slow down the loss of muscle mass and function. It also helps to build and repair muscle tissues.
  3. Fill half the plate with fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Additionally, one can attempt to integrate mindful eating – an act of appreciating your food using your emotional and physical senses – during meal times. Pay attention to portion sizes to prevent overeating. This helps maintain a healthy weight and prevent conditions like obesity or malnutrition.

One can also practice eating with awareness. Refrain from watching a show while eating, it helps you feel fuller and truly focus on the taste. This enables one to concentrate on – and learn to appreciate – the sensory experiences while eating. [5]

That being said, it’s important for elderly individuals to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to tailor their diet based on their specific health conditions, medications, and individual needs.

If your loved ones are not sure how to start exercising or are unable to because of the pain affecting their daily life, our qualified physiotherapists at The Movement Laboratory can help. We will assess the cause of the pain, and advise them on the next step to take. Contact us via WhatsApp at +65 97553516!


[1] Prime Minister’s Office Singapore. (2023, April 11). PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Singapore Ageing Issues and Challenges Ahead Book Launch [Press release]. Available online at https://www.pmo.gov.sg/Newsroom/PM-Lee-Hsien-Loong-at-the-Singapore-Ageing-Issues-and-Challenges-Ahead-Book-Launch

[2] Milner, C., Van Norman, K., & Milner, J. (2011). The Media’s Portrayal of Ageing. Chapter 4 from “I. The Backdrop. What We Must Contend with and Why We Must Act Now,” in: Beard, J. R., Biggs, S., Bloom, D. E., et al. (Eds.). Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum. Available online at http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-population-ageing-peril-or-promise.

[3] Health Promotion Board (2022). Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines (SPAG). Available online at https://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/Programs/pa-lit/pdfs/2022/June/Singapore_Physical_Activity_Guidelines_Older_Adults.pdf

[4] Health Promotion Board (2022). My Healthy Plate. Available online at https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/191/nutrition-hub/eat-more#my-healthy-plate

[5] Harvard School of Public Health (2020). Mindful Eating. Available online at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/mindful-eating/