Copyright © Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
Can a brisk walk really improve your health? How do people clock 10,000 steps a day when we’re so busy with work or school on most days of the week? Participants of two HPB step challenges share their journey to better health through walking.
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. She began to put on weight due to a lack of physical activity.
Last year, after hearing about someone who lost weight—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 and collected her free fitness tracker from the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
Despite her sedentary job, Sarah began burning calories by clocking 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 to reap the health benefits, she said: “Start small, do what you normally do, and slowly work your way up.”
Related: No Time to Clock 10,000 Steps? No Problem!
Who: Muhammad Farhan s/o Badriul Zama, 20 Occupation: Student
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 one of HPB's Challenges.
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.
Download the HealthHub app on
Google Play or
Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next:
This article was last reviewed on
Friday, April 17, 2020
What is a Healthy Weight?
5 Exercises to Prevent Chronic Illnesses
Diet vs Exercise
How to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day The Easy Way
7 Reasons to Stop Sitting for Long Periods
Step Right Up
View More Programmes
Wouldn’t it be great if healthy living were as easy and enjoyable as shopping? Now, that’s possible at Health Promoting Malls. Have fun with mall workouts, enjoy healthier meals, and learn how to stay smoke-free – all at your convenience!
Falls can be serious and lower your quality of life. Stay mobile and independent by reducing your risk of falls.
Kick-start your journey towards a healthier you.
Browse Live Healthy