Wong Sze Keed, 48, does this to hit her daily goal of clocking 20,000 steps.
Ms Wong leads her team on 5km runs around Gardens by the Bay once a week after work. She also runs with her elder daughter on weekends and clocks about 20,000 steps every day by climbing the stairs. Photo: Feline Lim / Straits Times
Q What do you do to keep fit?
A I make it a point to clock about 20,000 steps a day. That’s climbing about 42 flights of stairs each day, which is how I manage to hit my daily target in spite of a busy work schedule. I also run with my team once a week on Wednesday or Thursday, after office hours. The turnout is usually about 20 to 30 people. We take different scenic routes around Gardens by the Bay and do at least 5km each time. I also run 5km with my elder daughter on weekends.
It is a win-win situation as I get to spend quality time with my family and team during our runs.
Q What is your secret to looking fabulous?
A Keeping healthy makes me feel good. This means getting at least seven hours of sleep each night and eight hours on weekends, so that I start the new week well-rested and energised. As for food, I try to have home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients.
Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
A I’ve had to work towards becoming more active throughout my life. Actually, finding out that both my father and husband had heart conditions gave me a scare. It made me even more committed to ensuring a healthier lifestyle for myself, my family and my team.
Q What is your diet like?
A Due to work events, I dine out with my colleagues frequently. However, I make a conscious effort to choose the healthiest dish on the menu and often opt for salads. When I feel like having a snack, I go for fruits such as apples, which my office stocks in the pantry as part of its corporate wellness programme.
At home, meals comprise two portions of vegetables and one portion of white meat, such as fish or chicken. We hardly eat out as we enjoy home-cooked meals.
Q What are your indulgences?
A The occasional glass of wine at parties and social gatherings. According to Harvard research, moderate alcohol intake improves blood flow and reduces clotting 24 hours after you have had a drink or two.
Q What do you do to relax and how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
A Running relaxes me as it puts me in a different frame of mind, away from work and stress.
Q What are the three most important things in your life?
A My family, my team and my health.
Q What’s your favourite and least favourite part of your body?
A My arms and legs are my favourite because they are toned with all the stair-climbing. I am working on getting my tummy toned now.
Q What do you like about stair-climbing?
A Because I can do it on my own time, any time of the day. There are stairs everywhere, so I have no excuse for not keeping fit.
Q How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?
A Very important. I feel very uncomfortable when I don’t go for my weekend runs.
Q What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness or diet?
A I believe in making steady progress and maintaining it. Some of my teammates think that my stair-climbing sessions are extreme.
Q How has your active lifestyle influenced your family and friends?
A My family members enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, canoeing and trekking. Both my daughters are in the volleyball teams of their respective schools. My husband goes to the gym twice a week and plays golf on weekends. We enjoy a healthy lifestyle, combined with the right eating habits.
I am glad to see more of my colleagues joining our after-work runs. Once you make a decision to start exercising and keep at it, it will become part of your routine and lifestyle.
Q Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to stay fit?
A I’ve always admired professional sportsmen. It takes a lot of discipline and determination to train every day. I am inspired by them.
Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?
A My most prized possession is the collection of about 40 medals from races that I’ve taken part in over the years. They may not be gold, silver or bronze medals, but they are important because they motivate me to keep at it and do better the next time. The half-marathon medals are my favourites.
Q What sort of shoes do you use for stair-climbing?
A Since I do most of the stair-climbing at work, I wear flats. It’s not the most ideal but it’s convenient. If I could, I would wear running shoes that provide good support for my feet. I do wear these shoes for the team runs because we cover at least 5km each time.
Q Would you go for plastic surgery?
A I’ve always liked to keep things simple and natural, so it’s not something I would consider.
Q Do you think you’re sexy?
A I am happy and confident with who I am.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline ‘She climbs 42 flights of stairs every day and runs‘.