NS FIT programme could be refined if required: Heng Chee How

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 yesterday.

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, Mindef could consider further increasing the number of training locations.

Figures for the sign-up rates were not provided, although Mindef said NS FIT sessions this month have been close to full.

The NS FIT programme aims to help operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) pass their individual physical proficiency test (IPPT). It replaces the remedial training and the voluntary IPPT preparatory training schemes.

Under NS FIT, the number of locations where NSmen can undergo training has expanded from 13 to 42 - with three more sites under ActiveSG already earmarked for the programme.

Out of the current 42 sites, 29 come under the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) Quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) banner, which includes malls and community spaces.

HPB Quick HIIT sessions are open to the public.

After observing one such session at Jurong Lake Gardens yesterday, Mr Heng told reporters that even with the pandemic putting a hold on several aspects of daily life, Singapore's defence 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 just makes it easier for people to fulfil this obligation."

Lieutenant-Colonel 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 that NSmen can choose from, to fulfil the required 10 sessions.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.