Improving fitness with BICEPS
With physical exercise, seniors get additional benefits including improvements in muscle strength, gait speed, balance and confidence.
Local medtech start-up, QuantumTX has partnered with Lien Foundation to make its BICEPS Wellness Device available to seniors in the community participating in the Gym Tonic evidence-based strength training programme, which aims to reverse physical frailty. This will allow the seniors to combine physical exercise with BICEPS therapy to their regular gym sessions and gain further benefits such as improvements in muscle strength, gait speed, balance and confidence in their own physical disabilities.
BICEPS (Bio Ionic Currents Electromagnetic Pulsing Systems) is a wellness device that uses low-energy and low-frequency electromagnetic fields to gently activate the muscles without movement or strain, and complements physical exercise. A 10-week user experience pilot study done from June to August this year with 65 seniors undergoing the Gym Tonic programme revealed positive user experiences. The seniors exercised once or twice a week and received 10 minutes of BICEPS therapy either after their warm-up or before their cool-down.
The majority that received the BICEPS therapy showed improvement in muscle strength and functional abilities, and reported reduced joint pains. They were also very positive about the magnetic therapy. Shared a participant in the study, Henry Choo, 72, “Previously I was too weak to walk unaided even for short distances, such as between the exercise stations at Gym Tonic, as my knees gave me pain. After exercising and using BICEPS, the pain has improved, and I now have more confidence in walking by myself, even for longer distances.”
He added, “I am now able to go to the bathroom unaided, as well as shower standing up – activities that I’ve not been able to do since suffering a mini-stroke in June 2018.”
Lee Han Cheng, 68, has also seen benefits with the BICEPS therapy. “After the workouts at Gym Tonic last year, my stamina and energy levels progressively increased. The regular strength training enabled me to do longer periods of physical activity, and I was also sleeping better at night. However, the increase in physical activities especially housework took a toll on my arms and I developed tennis elbow condition in my arms, which was really quite painful when I had to use my arms.
“Having spent the last 10 weeks on the BICEPS Wellness Device, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tennis elbow discomfort – which had troubled me for about a year – gradually went away! By using BICEPS to supplement Gym Tonic training, I’ve also seen my strength and endurance levels increase significantly. For example, previously I would cycle 20km to 25km and do about 10 laps in the swimming pool. Now I can do 30km to 35km of cycling and 25 to 30 laps, without feeling drained. The trainers at Gym Tonic also increased the weights in the machines and I could complete the circuit.”
He continued, “More importantly, as I’m diabetic with low blood pressure, my HbA1C levels and blood pressure have stabilised. I also believe that my blood circulation has improved, as a while ago I suffered a cut and bruise on my foot after accidentally kicking the edge of a metal door, which healed faster than expected. With workouts at Gym Tonic, BICEPS and outdoor activities, I’m enjoying good days in my retirement life.”
QuantumTX, which was launched this year, is a spin-off from the National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Department of Surgery, where Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregon developed a device that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the biological effects of exercise.