SINGAPORE - The response to the new NS Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) programme will be monitored and refinements will be made if necessary, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How on Tuesday (April 13).
Noting that sign-up rates for the programme since its roll-out on April 1 have been very strong, Mr Heng said if demand continues to grow, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) could consider increasing the number of training locations for NS FIT.
Figures for these sign-up rates were not provided, although Mindef said NS FIT sessions this month have been close to full capacity.
The NS FIT programme aims to help operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) pass their individual physical proficiency test (IPPT). It replaces the remedial training scheme as well as the voluntary IPPT preparatory training scheme.
Under NS FIT, the number of locations islandwide where NSmen can undergo training has expanded from 13 to 42 - with three more sites under ActiveSG, the national movement for sport, already earmarked for the programme.
Out of the 42, 29 come under the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) Quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) banner, and include shopping malls and community spaces.
HPB Quick HIIT sessions are open to the public, and NSmen's friends and family can join them in the 60- to 75-minute workout.
After observing one such session at Jurong Lake Gardens on Tuesday, Mr Heng told reporters that even with the Covid-19 pandemic halting several aspects of daily life, the defence of Singapore cannot be brought to a standstill.
"Every NSman knows that is our duty, and that we must therefore keep ourselves fit to be able to discharge our responsibility to our country," he said. "NS FIT makes it easier for people to fulfil this obligation."
Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Johnson Sim, commanding officer at the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance, said the centre drew on exercise and sports science to design the different activities which NSmen can choose from to fulfil the required 10 sessions under NS FIT.
From weight-loss training to metabolic circuits, these activities cater to NSmen with various fitness levels and targets, said LTC Sim.
NSmen who attended Tuesday's FIT session at Jurong Lake Gardens said proximity to their homes was a plus point.
Third Sergeant (NS) Prabhu Nadrajan, 29, was taking part in his first Quick HIIT workout and he was accompanied by his cousin C. Ganesh, 30, who holds the same rank.
Mr Ganesh said: "We used to work out together when we were younger. Now we're in different phases of our lives, so this is the only opportunity we get to hang out. We have fun exercising at the same time, so I decided to join him and support him through these few sessions."
Lieutenant (NS) William Werry, 28, said working out together with his wife Tess Tseng, 27, will serve to motivate him.
Ms Tseng said: "Being able to encourage him to work out a little bit more than before will help us to achieve more happiness in our marriage, just by having this shared experience."