The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday announced that new physical fitness standards for male and female personnel — based on sit-ups, push-ups and a 3km run — will be imposed next year.
The ministry said it would test the feasibility of the plan for a year before officially adopting the new standards next year.
The ministry said the new tests would require both males and females to increase their cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and mobility.
Under the new standards, both men and women in the armed forces between the ages of 19 and 22 will be required to complete 70 sit-ups in two minutes and 66 push-ups in the same amount of time.
At present, men are expected to do 33 sit-ups in one minute and six pull-ups.
The existing requirements for women to run 2.4km and men to run 3km in less than 16 minutes will also be changed.
Under the new rules both men and women between the ages of 19 and 22 will have to complete the 3km run in less than 14 minutes.
The ministry said it also hoped that all members of the armed forces, regardless of age, improve their 3km times by 1 to 2 minutes.
Unlike current practices, however, the military will not force overweight servicemen or servicewomen to meet the requirements, giving the tests only to those who have normal body mass indexes (BMI).
“The MND will offer a three to six-month weight reduction program to those suffering from obesity,” a defense ministry official said.
“They will not be required to participate in the physical readiness tests until their BMI meets normal standards,” the official said.
The ministry said that if everything goes well, the new plan would take effect next year and would be used as a physical requirement for future armed forces volunteers.