Health x Wellness

HPB to increase the availability of physical activity programmes

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The Health Promotion Board (HPB) will encourage residents to meet physical activity recommendations by increasing the availability of its physical activity programmes and refine its National Steps Challenge.

HPB hopes that more residents will meet the recommendations set out in the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines (SPAG). The SPAG was launched in June 2022, with recommendations on the duration, intensity, frequency and types of physical activity for different population segments.

physical activity programmes

To do so, under the Healthier SG initiative, HPB will progressively scale up the overall capacity of its physical activity programmes by more than 50 percent. This will serve around 47,000 participants every week from the current 31,000.

Residents will have access to more physical activity programmes organised in the community, as well as self-directed programmes that enable individuals to monitor their lifestyle habits and keep active at their own convenience.

They can access a wide range of activities, including Zumba, kickboxing, yoga, resistance band exercises, low-impact aerobics, and high-intensity interval training sessions. These activities are conducted island-wide in community spaces such as sports centres, parks, housing estates and senior activity centres, in collaboration with public and private sector partners.

Refining the National Steps Challenge™

The National Steps Challenge™ leverages gamification and technology to encourage residents to keep active. Since April 2022, the challenge has shifted from being a seasonal six-month programme to an ‘alway-active’ programme for participation. This will encourage residents to be more active throughout the year.

To motivate more residents to keep active and achieve better health outcomes, the challenge’s programme mechanics will nudge participants towards achieving the SPAG-recommended physical activity duration and intensity. Adults are recommended to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.

The challenge also aims to nudge participants to engage in more moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity regularly, and work towards the physical activity recommendation each week.

To cater to sedentary individuals who are starting out on physical activity, or those who are unable to undertake more intensive physical activity, the programme will continue to award Healthpoints to those who clock at least 5,000 steps a day.

It is good to encourage people to reduce sedentary time through efforts like the National Steps Challenge™. This can reduce the risks of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes or heart diseases, but we need to do more. It is important to also nudge people to step up and do sufficient moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity as such activities can confer even more health benefits. With the anticipated increase in availability of physical activity programmes and changes to the National Steps Challenge™ paving the way for Healthier SG, we hope more Singaporeans will cultivate the habit of being active, and work towards the nationally recommended physical activity levels for their improved health.

Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health
physical activity programmes

Images credit to HPB and adapted from SPAG.