The Rise Of Virtual Challenges

With greater social distancing and safety measures in place to combat COVID-19, physical activities have gone into the virtual arena. Woo Hong Hao is a member of the Police Sports Association (PSA) that organises virtual physical activities and challenges for police officers. He shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of going virtual.
Virtual physical activities encourage others to stay fit.

Sporting events such as marathons came to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. They have instead moved online and transformed into virtual challenges that strive to encourage people to achieve their fitness goals and stay connected with other enthusiasts.

Virtual race organisers such as 42Race and Spacebib have been offering virtual runs and walking challenges to cater to the need for virtual physical activities.

While participants in virtual physical challenges may not experience the adrenaline-filled atmosphere, interactive emcees and cheerleading ushers, they can see awe-inspiring posts and achievement selfies in the apps’ social feeds – providing an enhanced sense of community.

Participating in a virtual challenge can be as simple as:

  1. Registering for an account
  2. Choosing a virtual challenge you wish to participate in
  3. Recording and logging the activity using GPS-enabled devices

A reward will usually be issued upon completing the objective of the virtual physical challenge, such as the distance covered or number of steps walked.

One of the perks of a virtual physical challenge is that it can be done any time and anywhere.

What Sets Virtual Physical Challenges Apart

Virtual Physical Challenges

Date, Time and Place

Any time and anywhere

Registration Fees

Lower registration fees, or free of charge

Race Timing

No stipulated timing, but you would have to complete certain activities within the event period

Event Pacer

None, but you could get your own by having a running buddy

Logging Activity Achievements

Use your own fitness app or GPS-enabled devices to submit your accomplishments through the event portal

Collection of Finisher Rewards

Finisher rewards are mailed to participants after the event

Virtual Physical Challenges for Police Officers

Throughout 2020, the Police Sports Association (PSA) has been organising innovative virtual physical challenges to carry on promoting an active lifestyle through sports, and improve the physical fitness of police officers.

One such challenge called for the participants to produce a three-minute Home Workout Challenge video, which would be posted on the PSA Group on Workplace. This virtual challenge encouraged participants to be creative in crafting suitable exercises to be uploaded.

One challenge asked participants to produce a three-minute Home Workout Challenge video.

Another event, the PSA Virtual X-Fit Challenge, was designed for participants to perform five workouts and submit videos of them. On top of encouraging participants to stay fit, such virtual physical events also aim to strengthen physical conditioning at high intensity levels.

Together or As One?

Though efforts have been made to engage officers online, some feel that virtual events cannot replicate the feeling of mass physical events.

“The biggest difference when running together with a team or friends, versus running alone in virtual challenges, is the sense of achievement,” says half-marathon racer Senior Staff Sergeant Mohd Khalid, Deputy Team Leader of the Emergency Response Team from Bedok Police Division.

Sergeant Pang Xiu Kang, however, prefers the change in pace. The Ground Response Force Officer from Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre says: “Virtual challenges provide the opportunity for me to capture the panoramic beauty of reservoirs, and explore unfamiliar territory. The greatest benefit for me is to be able to enjoy scenic walks with my wife at a comfortable pace.”

Silver Linings

For now, the road to resuming physical mass sports events might still be bumpy. As for me, I do miss spending time with friends while engaging in sports activities together. But what is more important now is to keep ourselves safe and find ways to remain fit while participating in virtual physical events, as challenging as that may be.

If nothing else, it might inculcate in us more self-discipline in working towards our fitness goals in this “new normal”, and motivate us to achieve our personal bests.

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    Jun 15, 2021
    Woo Hong Hao
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