Spider machine puts the fun into exercise

Getting old? Watch out for the spider! No, that's not meant to scare you.

Charlotte Luo

Friday, November 23, 2018

Getting old? Watch out for the spider!

No, that's not meant to scare you. It's just to tell you that there's nothing like getting together with a dozen or so elderly people for a fun way to keep in shape.

It's the Body Spider Exercise Machine from Japan for a dozen oldies to exercise together that's now on show at the four-day Gerontech and Innovation Summit which kicked off yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Some 120 local and international exhibitors are taking part. Entry is free.

The Body Spider Exercise Machine - one of the big attractions - uses the concept of stretch bands to tone and strengthen the muscles. It is also wheelchair-friendly. The machine is three meters wide and 2.15-meters high.

The machine is widely used in Japan. Currently, more than 150 institutions there, including day care centers, nursing homes and public community centers, have the Body Spider in their rehabilitation programs.

A 64-year-old woman, surnamed Leung, who tried out the machine at the summit, described it as "a very interesting" group exercise equipment most suited for use in an elderly home.

A Virtual Reality-based Rehabilitation System allows patients to immerse in the VR environment. Users wear a VR headset to do gait training.

Deltason Medical product specialist Angelina Cheung, said the VR program could be customized to cater to different patients' needs and preferences.

The exhibition also showcases an award-winning ring developed by Belun Technology.

This electronic ring can help identity patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea - a condition in which breathing stops involuntarily for brief periods of time during sleep - by collecting data such as heartbeat changes, blood oxygen saturation rate and body movement while people are sleeping. The summit is co-hosted by the government and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. The Innovation and Technology Commission has approved funding of about HK$7.5 million to support the summit.

In a keynote speech at the summit, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said Hong Kong should prepare for an aging population.

Law said currently the population aged 85 or above is 180,000 and it will rise 3.8 times to nearly 700,000 people by 2047, including a large number with disabilities.

He said the demand for long-term care in the future may be several times higher than at present and there is a shortage of nursing manpower.

Other than importing labor and making use of technology, there is no other solution in the short term, he said.