Staying active as a team

The Health Promotion Board's National Steps Challenge™ engages people to get up and move more. PHOTO: ISTOCK
The Health Promotion Board's National Steps Challenge™ engages people to get up and move more. PHOTO: ISTOCK

Engage your employees to get up and move in the Health Promotion Board’s National Steps Challenge™

Madam Lim Poh Hua doesn’t miss a beat in her weekly Zumba class. At 66, she makes it a point to lead an active lifestyle by engaging in the fun cardio exercise. Her job as a senior quality inspector at Mitsui High-tec (S), where she clocks in an average of more than 10,000 steps daily, complements her efforts to become active.

These physical activities made Madam Lim a standout among her colleagues, as she emerged as the top performer of the winning company in National Steps Challenge™ Season 4 Corporate Challenge, an initiative by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to encourage individuals in Singapore to engage in physical activities to achieve an active lifestyle.

Madam Lim Poh Hua (fourth from left), 66, attends a weekly Zumba class in her neighbourhood to get more active. PHOTO: MITSUI HIGH-TEC (S)

HPB has ramped up its challenge — from counting steps to measuring moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA) minutes, where participants engaged in higher intensity physical activities that noticeably increase their breathing rate and heart rate but do not get them out of breath; such activities range from brisk walking, stair climbing to doing sports.

The challenge, which ran for 15 weeks, encouraged participating companies to get their employees to engage in at least 150 minutes of higher intensity physical activities (running, Zumba, yoga, swimming and high-intensity interval training) per week and reach 10,000 steps or more daily.

“It was very enjoyable,” Madam Lim, a first time Corporate Challenge participant, says about the experience. “It made me realize that I can incorporate exercise into my daily routines.”

Another first-timer, 64-year-old Mr Chua Kwee Huat, on the other hand, learned to become more conscious of his choices after joining the challenge. He now takes the stairs rather than the lift; walks to the MRT station instead of taking a bus. Mr Chua says: “Healthy living translates into better health that results in less visits to the doctor, ultimately saving in medical cost.”

Since joining Corporate Challenge, Mr Chua Kwee Huat, 64, now prefers taking the stairs than the lift. PHOTO: MITSUI HIGH-TEC (S)

Mitsui High-tec (S) gained the most recognition in last season’s Corporate Challenge. One for garnering the highest daily average step count; the other for earning the highest weekly average MVPA minutes.

With a record of nearly 27,000 average daily steps, the semi-conductor leadframe manufacturer took home the grand prize of $10,000 in the big workforce division for organisations with 200 or more employees.

Ms Goh Mou Wah, an engineer and member of the Corporate Challenge committee in the company, highlights the importance of staying fit: “Employees who are healthy will fall sick less. This will translate to improved productivity, less absenteeism and reduced medical costs.”

From stepping up to moving more

Construction company Sim Lian believes the Corporate Challenge is in line with its efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle for its employees. The company came in second in the steps leaderboard and third in the MVPA category.

Going out for a run has been one of the group activities that construction company Sim Lian does to keep fit. PHOTO: SIM LIAN

Sim Lian group project director Mr Phay Morgan says the company opted for the intra-challenge feature which allowed them to form teams within the company to compete against one another and hand out prizes to the winners. “It is part of our company’s culture to prioritise our staff’s well-being. Our management believes a healthy staff is a happy staff,” he says.

Airport services provider Smarte Carte Singapore joined for the first time last season and managed to grab the third spot in the overall steps leaderboard. Managing director Mr Anthony Lim says their ranking in the Corporate Challenge is the result of the company’s employees giving each other motivation to move more.

Similar efforts were seen at multinational information and communications company J.D. Power, the top performer for the steps category among its industry. J.D. Power says employees were given the freedom to organise their own activities, which helped strengthen their bond and increase synergy at work.

ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector, which has been joining since the first season, took it to a new level. “We organised a walkathon that brought us to various heritage and symbolic sites in Singapore,” says Mr Tay Eng Guan, vice president at ST Engineering Aerospace.

ST Engineering Aerospace clocked in record-breaking steps to get a spot in the Singapore Book of Records. PHOTO: ST ENGINEERING AEROSPACE

The event helped the company bag the Singapore Book of Records for being the largest group of people achieving at least 10,000 steps daily for five consecutive days, from Jan 18 to Jan 22 this year.

“The National Steps Challenge™ is more than just a yearly reminder for us to maintain healthy living – it is also a good opportunity for employees to bond and work towards a common goal outside the office. It has certainly become a company event that employees look forward to every year,” says Mr Tay.

As National Steps Challenge™ celebrates its fifth year in the upcoming season, participants can look forward to more incentives to get moving. Seniors aged 60 years old and above will be entitled to special perks and returning companies can also enjoy complimentary activities to better engage their employees in healthy living.

Madam Lim can’t wait to take part again when the new season starts. “It is a very good motivational project to be in. It keeps me on my toes when I am in the challenge… My goal, to better my steps and MVPA minutes for the next season.”

Visit the National Steps Challenge™ website for more details on how to sign up for the next season of Corporate Challenge! Registration closes on Oct 31, 2019.