Silver-haired strongmen lead the way

POWER PLAY: (From left) Mr Michael Lek, 60; Mr Ng Bee Kia, 69; Mr Ngai Hin Kwok, 64; and Mr Ng Siu Chi, 56, of Team Strong Silvers doing an equalizer combo using Lebert Equalizers.


    Mar 17, 2014

    Silver-haired strongmen lead the way

    AGE is just a number.

    Mr Ngai Hin Kwok is 64, but his level of fitness would put those half his age to shame.

    The grandfather of one can do 33 chin-ups, 28 pull-ups, 100 push-ups and 600 squats, as well as run 33km - not all in one session, but any one of these tasks could faze many a younger man.

    His hair is silver-grey, but the retired jeweller's dedication to staying active and healthy shows in his muscular physique.

    And he is not alone. His friends, Mr Ng Bee Kia, 69; Mr Michael Lek, 60; and Mr Ng Siu Chi, 56, are also fitness buffs.

    They often perform feats of physical strength balancing on one another, muscles and sinews visibly bulging and straining.

    Together with team facilitator Robert Ho, 44, they make up Team Strong Silvers, a group dedicated to encouraging senior citizens to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

    Mr Ngai, who exercises daily for at least half an hour, said in Mandarin: "Don't wait until you are old and your body starts to decline before you start exercising. We want to encourage people to start early."

    Mr Ngai has been active for many years, but the younger Mr Ng started training only last year, after he found that his cholesterol levels had shot up.

    Yet, the mechanic can already perform physical feats such as supporting his full bodyweight on his hands.

    His training regimen includes weight and bodyweight training in the Cheng San Community Club gym three days a week.

    Mr Lek sports an enviably flat stomach - so flat that it is hard to believe the retired taxi driver had a flabby 91cm waist just seven years ago.

    He said the bulging belly was due to his sedentary work habits - "eat, drive, eat, drive".

    Thanks to activities such as cycling and even the extreme running involved in parkour, his waist is now an enviable 76cm.

    The grandfather of five said that, for him, exercising is about learning new techniques.

    "I don't want to keep doing the same activities. Once I master a technique, I will attempt to learn a different one," he said.

    The men of Team Strong Silvers have chosen to be role models in encouraging the elderly to live an active life, said Mr Ho, who used to work for the People's Association.

    He explained that young and chiselled instructors are often unable to connect with senior citizens, who might find it hard to believe that they could have bodies like that. This is where the team comes in.

    It has held two demonstrations so far.

    Mr Ho said he hopes that after seeing their peers demonstrate what can be achieved, seniors will "respond positively" and embrace efforts to improve their own fitness.

    The team has plans to hold classes soon. The members are training to be floor exercise leaders so they can be more hands on.

    The quintet focuses on calisthenics - bodyweight workouts that do not require equipment - noting that "senior citizens do not like gyms because they feel intimidated by the younger, larger and fitter gym users".

    Looking over at some seniors who were sitting and singing karaoke at a void deck near where Team Strong Silvers was demonstrating several moves, Mr Ho said the group's aim is to get seniors to realise that old age need not mean living life sitting down.

    Team Strong Silvers clearly captured interest during the demonstration. Nearby, a small group of seniors - largely men - watched the entire display avidly, craning their necks to get a better look.

    As the team's motto goes: Never too old!