Music was pumping loud from the stereo. Hundreds were gathered in bright and colourful exercise gear, swinging and swaying to the pulsating beat in the shopping mall plaza-turned-fitness studio. Regina Ng, in her forties, was in the crowd, absorbed in the moment of rhythmic Zumba moves.
In the past, Ng rarely thought about exercising as it seemed mundane to her. But all that changed when, four months ago, she stepped into The Star Vista’s Zumba Tuesday class for the first time.
“I joined the first class and haven’t looked back since! The crowd here is sporting, the exercise pace is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and I really sweat it out,” she shares excitedly.
The Zumba class, held on Tuesday evenings, thus its name Zumba Tuesdays, is just one of many mass community events taking place regularly at The Star Vista’s open-air Star Plaza, which works surprisingly well as an open-air group exercise venue, thanks to its striking 33-metre-high ceiling that facilitates wind flow and natural light, and ample standing room in its amphitheatre. Here, one can also look forward to kickboxing lessons on Mondays and yoga on Thursdays –all of which are free for the public.
A Space for the Active
“Singaporeans are getting more health conscious and are in search of places to enjoy exercising without burning a hole in their pockets,” said Jacke Chye, Senior Manager, Marketing Communications, The Star Vista. “Zumba, a fun and trendy exercise, naturally became one of our top choices for community events to host at the Star Plaza.”
Chye added: “A lifestyle mall, The Star Vista has become a destination for our shoppers to fulfill their lifestyle needs, ranging from dining, shopping, relaxing and even exercising. In line with the mall’s ethos, we gravitate towards hosting fun and trendy activities that allow our shoppers to spend quality time with their loved ones and make new friends.”
Nancy Khan, 49, joined the class because she could make new friends. “My belief is that when it comes to exercising, the more, the merrier,” she said. “It’s also a time where my friends and I get to catch up and relax.”
“This after-work exercise helps relieve stress,” said Elena Low, 55 who enjoyed the class so much that she invited her colleague, Joy Teo, 27, to join her. Teo added: “It’s heartwarming to witness a big crowd of friends and families doing an activity together. It’s a pretty awesome idea!”
The Right Vibe/Stress Buster
“The session is set in a nice, sheltered outdoor area, so there is great ventilation and breathable space,” said Lee Kok Seng, 55, a technician who tried the class in July after a few friends persuaded him to join them.
Upbeat music adds to the buoyant atmosphere of the classes as the crowd cheered and clapped to the beat. Clearly, a number of regulars had memorised some of the Zumba routines, for they were grooving gracefullyin sync with the music without needing as much a glance at the instructors.
So mark your calendar: visit The Star Vista on Mondays for kickboxing, Tuesdays for Zumba, and Thursdays for yoga.
An Electrifying Running Experience at Hongkou Plaza
Over at Hongkou Plaza, in Shanghai, China, exhilaration was at an all time high as close to 1,000 participants gathered at the outdoor plaza for a very special run. The Neon Run, as it is called, took place in August 2014. It attracted participants from all walks of life, from teenagers to those in their 50s. As the name of the race suggests, participants decked out in glow-in-the dark T-shirts and accessories before they hit the road for a 6-kilometre run.
The race began and ended at Hongkou Plaza. Before the race commenced, participants engaged in a fun warm up session at the outdoor plaza to prepare themselves. The run extended from the mall to the Hongkou Football Stadium, a major landmark which regularly hosts large-scale football matches and concerts, and the participants clocked about 6 kilometres around the stadium before heading back to Hongkou Plaza.
Head of Marketing Communications of Hongkou Plaza, Sam Chen said, “The Neon Run attracted enthusiastic runners from four districts in northern Shanghai.The mall hopes that such activities will position it as a platform for community engagement by bringing together people who love to exercise and have a zest for life. It is an important social engagement activity that is in line with CapitaDNA’s of building communities, and true to the company’s vision of enriching people and communities through high-quality real estate products and services.”
The fastest participant who completed the 6-kilometre race in just 25 minutes was a 25-year-old young man, Li Xiao Cheng, who lives near the mall. The top ten runners who completed the race all walked away with movie tickets and free gym passes. After the Neon Run, the cinema and restaurants in the shopping mall were also bustling with life. The race has also led to many participants fostering closer friendships due to their common passion for running.
Evidently, activities such as running and zumba are no longer activities confined to the comforts of your own personal space. The malls have indeed morphed into the giant “living rooms” where people from all walks of life can hang out, keep fit and feel great! So, go ahead and sweat it out! But be warned, exercising in this fun, massive manner can be addictive!