Haven’t you heard? The National Steps Challenge is back for Season 5 from 26 Oct 2019 to 30 Apr 2020. Now heartland uncles and aunties will have something to do in between episodes of Yanxi Palace!
If you have no clue what this whole “HPB step challenge” thingy is, but are intrigued by rumours of a free wearable steps tracker and shopping vouchers just for walking around, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to tell you all about the HPB Steps Challenge, what free stuff you can get, and how to sign your lazy ass up.
This article is NOT sponsored by the Health Promotion Board. Don’t anyhow say me. I’m just very committed to getting freebies from the government.
Tell me all about the National Steps Challenge!
Spent a few hundred bucks on a Fitbit or Apple Watch, and congratulating yourself for making such a smart investment on your health?
Yeah, well, no Singaporean above 50 is gonna be impressed with you. They’ve been outfoxing you all this while by earning “money” with their 100% free HPB wearable steps tracker.
They’ve been doing so with the Health Promotion Board’s National Steps Challenge, one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn government-sponsored freebies.
The National Steps Challenge is free for all members of the public to participate in, as long as you’re aged 17 years old and above and have a valid NRIC or FIN number. Season 5 runs from 26 Oct 2019 to 30 Apr 2020.
Here’s how it works in 5 steps:
- Download the HPB Healthy 365 app
- Join the National Steps Challenge on the app
- Link the app to your fitness tracking device (can be your phone as well)
- Earn Healthpoints based on the number of steps you take each day
- Redeem your Healthpoints for vouchers
Come on, if tech-challenged senior citizens can do it, so can you.
When & where to collect your free HPB steps tracker
So you’ve downloaded the Healthy 365 app and officially joined the National Steps Challenge. Now what?
If you’re a true auntie, the logical next step is to collect your free HPB steps tracker. No matter if you already have a dozen Fitbits at home. Free stuff from gahmen, must take lah.
This cycle’s swanky new tracker features a colour display, but functionality wise, it is the same as season 4’s. It has the same steps tracker, as well as a heart rate monitor. Do note, however, that if you already have an old tracker from season 4, you can’t get another one.
If you don’t have one yet, go ahead and collect your HPB steps tracker at National Steps Challenge roadshows and selected MRT stations and malls.
There are 4 mega roadshows spanning 4 weekends:
|Date||Time||Mega roadshow venue|
|27 to 29 Sep 2019||11am to 8pm||Tampines Community Plaza (Hard court opposite Tampines 1 taxi stand)|
|11 to 13 Oct 2019||11am to 8pm||Ang Mo Kio (Grass field in front of Djitsun Mall)|
|18 to 20 Oct 2019||11am to 8pm||VivoCity Outdoor Plaza|
|25 to 27 Oct 2019||11am to 8pm||Punggol (Grass field in front of Punggol MRT station)|
There are quite a few other collection points, and for some (community centres and 7-11 stores), an appointment is needed. See the official HPB website for the full list of National Steps Challenge roadshows, malls and collection outlets.
How to make a National Steps Challenge appointment
Unless you enjoy attending noisy, crowded roadshows, it is probably a good idea to make an appointment to collect your HPB steps tracker. This also helps you secure a tracker, because there’s a chance they might get fully redeemed at roadshows.
You can book an appointment through the Healthy 365 mobile app from 8 October 2019 onwards. You can also collect steps trackers on behalf of others with NRIC proof, up to 3 steps tracker in total.
How to get the National Steps Challenge Pokemon collectible kit
To celebrate the 5th season of the National Steps Challenge, HPB has collaborated with Pokemon to release a cool Pokemon collectible kit. On the official site, it states that it is exclusively for “loyal supporters” and “completers”.
To clarify, “completers” are those who have finished all 6 tiers of Steps Category, and “loyal supporters” are participants who have joined all 4 previous seasons of National Steps Challenge.
HPB hasn’t really said what exactly is in the kit, but it seems like they’re making quite a big deal of it. In fact, the 4 mega roadshows will be Pokemon-themed.
If you qualify, you’re probably quite a big supporter of the programme anyway, so you might as well collect it.
As with the fitness trackers, you can either collect your Pokemon kit at the roadshows, or make an appointment via the Healthy365 app from 8 October onwards.
How to exchange a faulty National Steps Challenge tracker
Since you’re no longer allowed to collect a new tracker if you took one in the previous season (you used to be able to), things can get tricky if your old one died on you.
But don’t worry: if your season 4 tracker is faulty and still within the 1-year warranty period, you can get a 1-for-1 exchange to an Axtro Fit tracker.
Exchanges can be done at any of the roadshows, or if you don’t like jostling with the crowd, at HPB’s National Steps Challenge customer care centres.
|National Steps Challenge customer care centre||Address||Opening hours|
|JCube Genix||2 Jurong East Central 1 #04-15 Singapore 609731||11am to 9pm daily|
|Jubilee Square Genix||61 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #01-17 Singapore 569814||11am to 9pm daily|
|The CentrePoint Genix||176 Orchard Road, #03-05, Singapore 238843||11am to 9pm daily|
|Changi City Point Genix||5 Changi Business Park Central 1, #02-06 Singapore 486038||11am to 9pm daily|
Do note that the customer care centres at Bugis Junction and Tampines 1 have ceased operations since 15 Sep 2019.
Earning Healthpoints in the Steps Rewards category
Once you’re all set up with your Healthy 365 app and free HPB steps tracker (or any other compatible tracker), you can start earning points for every step you take… and eventually turn those points into vouchers.
So… how do you start earning points to get you to that very first voucher? Here’s the earn rates for walking around:
|Signing up (new participants or returning participant who has not completed Tier 1)||350 (bonus)|
|5,000 to 7,499 steps in a day||10|
|7,500 to 9,999 steps in a day||25|
|10,000 or more steps in a day||Up to 40|
|Completing Tier 1 of Steps Rewards||300 (bonus)|
Once your total hits 750 Healthpoints, you would complete Tier 1 and can get your hands on your first $5 voucher.
Then you continue walking to level up to the next tier. The “gameplay” is similar to classic console games, where you try to clear levels. Every time you clear a level, you get a $5 or $10 voucher.
|Steps Rewards tiers||Healthpoints needed to complete||Rewards value|
|Tier 2||Additional 1,500||$10|
|Tier 3||Additional 750||$5|
|Tier 4||Additional 750||$5|
|Tier 5||Additional 750||$5|
|Tier 6||Additional 750||$5|
In summary, it’ll take about 100 days (10,000 steps or more) to complete the entire National Steps Challenge and earn the full amount of $35 in vouchers.
Earning Healthpoints in the MVPA Rewards category
In the National Steps Challenge Season 4, HPB finally realised that there are ways to stay fit apart from walking around all the time. So they’ve released a new “side quest” called MVPA Rewards (MVPA = Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activities).
This continues into season 5. The MVPA category unlocks after you complete Tier 2 of the Steps Challenge.
MVPA is any kind of activity* that elevates your heart rate above 63% of your maximum heart rate. There’s a formula to calculate your maximum: 220 – your age = maximum heart rate (in beats per minute or bpm).
Here’s how you earn Healthpoints with MVPA, once your qualify for MVPA Rewards:
|Completing Tier 2 of Steps Rewards||350 (bonus)|
|10 to 19 min of MVPA||10|
|20 to 29 min of MVPA||25|
|30 min or more of MVPA||Up to 40|
|Completing Tier 2 of MVPA Rewards||300|
|Completing Tier 3 of MVPA Rewards||300|
The MVPA side quest operates on its own tiered system, independently of the Steps Rewards. This is what you get at each tier:
|MVPA Rewards tiers||Healthpoints needed to complete||Rewards value|
|Tier 2||Additional 750||$5|
|Tier 3||Additional 1,500||$10|
|Tier 4||Additional 1,500||$10|
|Tier 5||Additional 1,500||$10|
|Tier 6||Additional 1,500||$10|
There are 2 extra tiers of rewards this season, raising the total redeemable vouchers to $50 instead of $30.
* I bet you’re already thinking of wearing your HPB steps tracker next time you and your partner do the deed, right? Talk about doing your part for the country.
National Steps Challenge corporate challenge
A final thing to highlight is the National Steps Challenge Corporate Challenge, where you sign up as a workplace to compete collectively.
Registration is already open, but the actual challenge is next year, 6 Jan to 19 Apr 2020. The top prize is a pretty crazy $10,000 in CASH.
National Steps Challenge Healthpoint vouchers & prizes
Since you gotta do something with all those Healthpoints, here’s a preview of what you can get…
First, you can redeem your HPB Healthpoints for vouchers. There’s a few to choose from, but the standard HPB voucher is pretty damn versatile – it’s almost actual currency since it’s accepted at so many merchants. (No merchant would decline to work with the gov, I imagine.)
You can use HPB vouchers at all the local supermarkets (NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant & Sheng Siong), 7-11, Golden Village theatres, shopping malls, chain eateries & bubble tea shops (Koi & LiHO – so you can undo all your hard work with brown sugar milk tea), and even Klook.
On top of all these rewards, you can also win some pretty amazing prizes every time you clock 10,000 steps (1 chance) or 30 minutes of MVPA (2 chances) a day.
HPB has yet to announce this season’s prizes, only revealing that they’re worth up to $40,000. You can expect them to be quite impressive though — last year’s top prize was a pair of Singapore Airlines Business Class tickets to New York!
National Steps Challenge veterans, any tips to share with us? Tell us in the comments!