Most people know about the benefits of exercise – a healthier heart, a reduction of stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and other benefits – but exercise has many additional advantages for seniors.
“Many characteristics we associate with older age – like the inability to walk long distances, climb stairs, or carry groceries, are largely due to a lack of physical activity,” Dr. John Montgomery, a family physician, medical epidemiologist and vice-president of Senior Care Solutions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, has said.
Unfortunately, 60 percent of people over 64 years old are considered sedentary. There are numerous reasons why this is the case, but there also are many ways to combat this issue. And robotics is one.
The Singapore government has unveiled the RoboCoach robot trainer to help seniors exercise more. The robot trainer offers personalized workout routines for seniors and makes sure the exercises are done correctly to maximize the benefits.
Developed by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, RoboCoach “has a rosy red face, blue eyes, two teeth, and mimics human movements.” RoboCoach coaches the elderly in performing 15 types of arm exercise each week, recognizing a human voice that tells it to start the workout. RoboCoach will even slow down the pace during group workouts to make sure everyone can catch up.
Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, says 25 venues will get a RoboCoach. At press time, the first robot trainer had been deployed to the Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centre.