Heartland challenge boosts fitness, spirit

Heartland fitness challenge participants warm up by stretching. The challenge, over eight stations, will cost $15 each and is open to all, not just residents of Pasir Ris- Punggol GRC.
Heartland fitness challenge participants warm up by stretching. The challenge, over eight stations, will cost $15 each and is open to all, not just residents of Pasir Ris- Punggol GRC. PHOTO: PASIR RIS-PUNGGOL COMMUNITY SPORTS CLUBS

For more than two years, Steffan Fung has been providing fitness coaching for residents in Punggol North.

His experiences sparked off an idea and the 35-year-old approached Mr Teo Ser Luck and Ms Penny Low, both Members of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, with a plan to start a heartland fitness challenge.

That has now come into fruition, as they worked with seven Pasir Ris-Punggol community sports clubs to launch the event called Heartland Fitness Challenge @ Pasir Ris-Punggol.

The key aims of the initiative are to promote active lifestyles and foster stronger community spirit among the residents.

Open to anyone, it will cost $15 and sees participants take on challenges at eight stations - from pull-ups to the farmers' walk, a strength exercise which involves carrying weights over a distance.

The qualifying round will be on Sept 20 at Sengkang Community Club, with the finals a week later at the hard court near Riviera LRT station. Trophies will be given to the winners and finisher's medals will be presented to all participants.

Said Fung, a grassroots volunteer: "What we hope to achieve is to use it as an enabler to bring a positive vibe to the community."

Added Mr Teo, who is also Mayor for the North East District: "This event can see everyone come together, encouraging each other to complete the stations.

"The concept is suitable for all ages and different fitness levels, and we prepare those who are not too confident as well."

To help boost fitness levels in the run-up to the challenge, about 50 free training sessions at seven venues in the area, lasting 11/2 hours each, have been organised for the public.

"The trainers are very good and they always give a personal touch," said 38-year-old Aparna Ganguly, a product manager and a regular at these sessions.

"Through this, I've also made good friends and we are like a group now."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Heartland challenge boosts fitness, spirit'. Print Edition | Subscribe