Participants of two HPB step challenges share their journey to better health through walking.
Walking for good health!
Sarah Lim (right)
Who: Sarah Lim, 43
Occupation: Public officer
After fracturing her ankle 10 years ago, Sarah became less active in sports as she wanted to avoid high impact activities. As a result, she began to put on weight.
Last year, after hearing about someone who lost 15kg in three months just by brisk walking and dieting, Sarah became motivated to take charge of her health again. So when a friend introduced her to the National Steps Challenge™ (NSC), she joined promptly.
Despite her sedentary job, Sarah began to clock 7,500-10,000 steps daily — with no sweat, literally. “I can’t stand the heat. After lunch, instead of walking outside, I’d walk around the mall with my colleagues. You’ll feel better after walking more, especially when you’re very full.
“Sometimes, I’d also take the lift to a floor below my office and walk up the remaining flight of stairs.”
Quickly, Sarah found herself striving to achieve more. When she saw her step count, she’d think, “Oh, I actually did well — I must do better”. Gradually, she found herself doing more: “Normally I’d fall asleep at night if I sit there and watch TV, but when I was doing the Challenge, I was more motivated, and I’d be walking around at home to make sure I achieved my target.”
Today, she still continues to walk daily. “There’s no excuse not to do something that simple and good, and when you start, it’s much easier than you’d think … as you walk more, you feel less lethargic”.
For those still unsure about stepping up to the challenge, she said: “Start small, do what you normally do, and slowly work your way up.”
Who: Muhammad Farhan s/o Badriul Zama, 20
Every morning before Farhan leaves the house, he straps on his steps tracker to clock the number of steps he will take. On weekdays, he hits 8,000 to 10,000 steps easily as he walks to and from the Woodlands MRT station to Republic Polytechnic, where he studies —totalling about two kilometres. He had gotten the tracker when he signed up for HPB’s Steps for Good Challenge, which is similar to the NSC except that participants collectively accumulate their steps at the school level. Schools that hit their targets within the challenge period “win” cash amounts that are donated to their beneficiaries.
An avid nature lover, he unwinds with his friends by cycling, trekking and even rock climbing. “All the stress is gone when we go to a place like Pulau Ubin. It’s a quiet area, and when we go there we don’t really care about all the stress, we just want to have our fun”. However, they weren’t always so into sports.
“Before the Challenge, we weren’t interested in going out to parks or cycling”, Farhan recounted. Instead Farhan, who juggles his studies with student council duties, would destress by snacking. But when he and his friends noticed a crowd at Republic Polytechnic queuing up to collect the steps tracker, they joined in, and haven’t looked back since.
Initially, Farhan would forget to wear the tracker, but soon, he made it a habit to check his step count regularly and now even feels “strange” without the tracker on his wrist.
“We started to do active stuff because of the Challenge, and even after, we stepped it up. I really feel healthier and really happy. Since I love nature, and with the Challenge, I've been going out to many parks in Singapore which made me feel really good about how life can change with an addition of more active time,” he explained.
Besides that, he’s curbed his snacking habit along the way by telling himself, “I'm working out a lot, so why would I want to waste all the time I spent on exercising for nothing?”
Farhan certainly won’t be stopping anytime soon, as he continues to clock his steps daily with the tracker, even after the Challenge has concluded.
Contributed By: Health Promotion Board (HPB)