In order to create an atmosphere of sports for all in Chiayi County, National Chung Cheng University (CCU), the Chiayi County Health Bureau, and the Cycling & Health Tech Industry R&D Center (CHC) jointly launched the "Orienteering Walking Exergames in Elderly" through implementing exercise technology. The launch was held at the CCU's track and field this morning on 5 January, and the competition runs from the 5th of January until the end of February. According to CCU, by combining the specialties in the CCU’s Department of Athletic Sports with technology, it hopes to develop the good habits of regular exercise by introducing the new mode of Exercise Technology into the local community at Chiayi County in order to protect the health of "Chiayi people,"(which is a homophonic pun in Chinese that means family), and the examples of such combination are creating orienteering walking exergames and conducting physical fitness testing for people.
With Taiwan's population aging rapidly, 17.26% of the population is over the age of 65, and the percentage of it is estimated to reach 41% in 2060, among which, the percentage of elderly people in Chiayi County ranks first in Taiwan. Therefore, how to make the elderly live a healthy life is an important issue in Taiwan at present. The program, "Application and Industrial Development of Exercise Technology: Health Promotion and Applied Programs for Taiwanese Nationals," strived by Chiayi County is launched by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA), Ministry of Health and Welfare. On January 5th, under the witness of many dignitaries, the official launch of the program "Health Promotion and Applied Programs for Taiwanese Nationals" was announced by Chang-Liang Weng, mayor of Chiayi County, Feng-Ming Hao, the Vice President of CCU, and Yung-Sheng Wu, the general manager of CHC.
The "Health Promotion and Applied Programs for Taiwanese Nationals" program targets adults and the elderly, and selects Minxiong Township as the demonstration site due to its largest population. Gladys Shuk-Fong Li, the principal investigator and director of the Department of Sports and Athletics in CCU, said, in this plan, the gamified "Orienteering Walking Exergames in Elderly" is specially designed by using an exclusive sports app. Once people scan the QR code of the orienteering walking exergames, the app can record the walking distance between point to point, and also upload relevant detected data immediately.
What’s more, the plan also combines exercise technology equipment to determine the "biological age" and issue individualized exercise prescriptions by detecting people's physical fitness status, such as blood pressure, weight, flexibility, muscle strength, balance, reaction and cardiopulmonary testing. In addition, the CCU team also set up 5 project bases in neighboring communities, all of which will be involved in an 8-week exercise prescription course, and both pre-test and post-test are used in order to check the physical changes of the elderly.
In this program, CCU not only has students from the Department of Athletic Sports who are qualified as Physical Fitness of the Ministry of Education, but also supports from related units in CCU such as the College of Education and the Center for Innovation Research on Aging Research (CIRAS). The Vice President of CCU, Feng-Ming Hao, also pointed out that the school has accumulated a lot of energy through cross-disciplinary and cross-region connections to rural areas, industrial development, and people's life over the years. And he hopes that under the leadership of both teachers and students in the Department of Athletic Sports, the elderly could stay healthy enough to continue contributing to society, and ultimately, jointly realize the value of Chiayi County.
"Staying healthy is our own business, so don't shift the body issue to the doctor. Meanwhile, exercise is really essential to maintain our health!" said Chiayi County Mayor, Zhang-Liang Weng. After the age of 30, the human body loses muscle mass with the increasing ages yearly. However, maintaining regular exercise can effectively prevent and delay the mental or physical disability caused by aging. To both prevent and delay the disability of the elderly, Chiayi County plans to add 3 seniors’ fitness clubs in succession starting from 2023 to provide the accessibility of fitness venues for the elderly. According to Zhang-Liang Weng, sports should be done as early as possible. This year, the combination of exercise technology and sports field will be the first project to be released. The first stop will also start from CCU due to the high level of sports safety it possesses. In the future, it is expected to expand to every town in Chiayi County year by year, in order to comprehensively promote the atmosphere of sports everywhere.
To increase the participation rate of sports, the Health Promotion and Applied Programs also plans a reward mechanism for people who participate in the personal exercise of "Orienteering Walking Exergames in Elderly." The activity will start from 5 January until the end of February. Except for those who rank the top three per month will each receive gift certificates that worth 500, 300, and 200 NT dollars, the top three in the overall ranking will receive 5,000, 3,000, and 2,000 NT dollars gift certificates. Wen-Hua Chao, the director of the Health Bureau of Chiayi County, said that as promoting the introduction of exercise technology into the community, the Health Bureau will also plan the addition of nutrition into the community, making sports and nutrition "1+1," which will generate more than simply pooling their efforts together, with an aim to build a healthy and supportive environment to make "Chiayi" healthier.