Spreading the healthy living message
David Tan knows first-hand the benefit of keeping healthy and is volunteering to help others improve their health and lifestyle.
It was David Tan’s family’s different life experiences that influenced him on a path to living healthily. He saw the difference in the quality of life led by his paternal grandmother who was ill-free and active till her death, and his late parents who suffered a lower quality of life due to complications from chronic illness. He shared: “This all dawned on me the importance of leading a healthier lifestyle and motivated me to become a volunteer and help others embark on a journey of living healthier.”
In 2011, he began his volunteering journey with Health Promotion Board (HPB). As a health ambassador, he encourages residents to join various healthy living initiatives and programmes by HPB and its community partners. Depending on the type of activity, sometimes he coaches residents one-on-one on healthier lifestyle practices, convey bite-size health tips to a group, and lend a listening ear to their health challenges. He also leads group exercises in senior activity centres and shares mental wellness tips and health resources to residents.
Currently, he leads inpatients at community hospitals in group exercises. He guides them through warm-up exercises, followed by HPB’s seven sit-down exercises. These strength, balance and flexibility exercises help to increase or maintain muscle strength; improve balance, coordination and mobility; reduce risk of falling; and improve mood and overall well-being. David explained that volunteering with HPB is quite flexible and health ambassadors like himself are usually deployed on an ad-hoc basis.
“While I volunteer regularly, I do not keep track of my hours specifically as I truly enjoy helping others improve their health and lifestyle. It is my passion.” This is why he was recognised for his years of contribution with three service awards, including the most recent the Singapore HEALTH Award’s Health Ambassador Recognition Award. This award was presented also to another HPB health ambassador.
Besides his work at community hospitals, he is also helping in an initiative by Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which is supported by HPB. The initiative screens seniors who have eye, oral or hearing issues. As a health ambassador, he helps the seniors who require follow-ups to book their appointments.
“I am really heartened when the seniors I have served and aided appreciate what is being done for them and they themselves are able to embark on a healthier journey,” said David.
He added: “Volunteering is one of the most purposeful and meaningful activities a person can do. Volunteering inherently means helping people, and that means creating meaningful relationships with others and increasing one’s social interactions. Volunteering provides a unique opportunity to work with people who are like-minded to serve the community and make it better.”
Further spreading his message of healthy living, he also volunteers with Team Nila, a national volunteerism movement spearheaded by Sport Singapore that promotes the culture of giving, citizenship partnership and social cohesion through sport.
Besides keeping active through his volunteering, David also makes “a conscious effort to eat healthier, focus on my holistic wellness including my mental health, and to take everything in moderation”. We should all take a leaf out of David’s book.