Charitable twist to Challenge
National Steps Challenge Season 3 ties a healthy lifestyle to a charitable cause
Before she took part in the National Steps Challenge, Ms Sally Chua Lay Yen, 46, often fell sick and had to take medical leave.
The senior executive housekeeper at Keppel Club said: "I was often sneezing, had a runny nose and cold. But since I took part in the Challenge, I have not been on medical leave for two years."
Ms Chua completed Seasons 1 and 2 of the Challenge and is also taking part in the third season, which began last month.
The National Steps Challenge, launched by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in 2015, is a daily physical activity programme that seeks to encourage people to sit less and move more.
Ms Chua said: "In my work, I walk a lot. Within my eight-hour shift, I can spend up to six hours walking. I usually cover about 11,000 steps a day at work, well above the target of 10,000 steps a day in the Challenge."
She also walks to her favourite shopping mall, Causeway Point, which is about five bus stops away from her home in Woodlands.
She said: "It takes 30 minutes each way to walk, but I do not feel tired. My 49-year-old husband and my children occasionally join me."
Ms Chua, who has two sons aged 17 and 12 and a 15-year-old daughter, is happy that she has exceeded the 10,000-step target for each Challenge.
She said: "One day, I covered about 13,000 steps at work. Once, when my family and I were on tour, I covered about 20,000 steps in a day.
"Walking is not difficult and I want to encourage everyone to walk as much as possible. It may be difficult at first, but keep at it and do not give up."
I was often sneezing, had a runny nose and cold. But since I took part in the Challenge, I have not been on medical leave for two years.Ms Sally Chua Lay Yen with her Completer’s Kit
Walking 10,000 steps daily may seem daunting but the National Steps Challenge, the world's first population-level pedometer-based physical activity initiative, has shown how easy it is to be active by making small adjustments to daily routines.
The Challenge has attracted over 500,000 adult Singaporeans across its first and second seasons, and about a third of the participants in the second season clocked an average of 10,000 steps daily on at least five days a week.
Eighty-two per cent of the surveyed participants who were sedentary also spent more time on physical activity after joining the Challenge last year.
Season 3 of the Challenge officially kicked off on Oct 28 and will run until April 30.
As of Nov 20, the HPB has reached its target of more than 500,000 individuals who have signed up for Season 3, and many of them completed the previous two seasons.
A key highlight of Season 3 is the new Community Challenge 2017, which runs from Sunday to March 31.
It aims to rally communities from the 89 constituency divisions in Singapore to clock steps and raise funds of up to $178,000 for next year's President's Challenge.
Every step that participants take will go towards increasing their constituency division's average steps and will be converted to donations at the end of the challenge.
Individuals may either join the Community Challenge 2017 as part of their constituency division or as a team if they are a member of a religious organisation, grassroots organisation, voluntary welfare organisation or HPB interest groupthat has pre-registered as a team.
The HPB is also motivating the 26,000 completers of Season 2 to engage in higher intensity workouts through a unique rewards structure when they take up Season 3.
Each of them covered about 960km with all the steps they took, a distance equivalent to five rounds along the Singapore coastline.
The completers will get to unlock a Pledge & Win Challenge in which they can pledge to achieve a daily target number of steps over a stipulated number of days to win prizes worth up to $70.
To celebrate their accomplishments and prepare them for the workouts, the completers will get an exclusive Completer's Kit, which contains a steps tracker with heart rate monitoring function, a limited-edition Completer's T-shirt and a desk calendar for next year.
Participants of Season 3 will be able to clock 10,000 or more steps on Sunday, when they complete the National Steps Challenge The New Paper Big Walk 2017, a partnership between HPB and The New Paper.
It is part of HPB's ongoing efforts to collaborate with industry partners to sustain interest in the Challenge and keep participants motivated.
Ms Joanna Chan, HPB's director of the obesity prevention management division, said: "We are heartened by the growing support of Singaporeans for the National Steps Challenge. The increased level of participation each year, since we launched the Challenge in 2015, represents the efforts of Singaporeans across all ages and backgrounds to work physical activity into their lives.
"This is important given that physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to the growing problem of obesity and diabetes.
"We are therefore pleased to collaborate with The New Paper for the Big Walk this year as there is great synergy between the National Steps Challenge and the Big Walk.
"Both encourage Singaporeans to come together to be more active and stay healthy."