A one-size-fits-all solution for a healthy lifestyle and well-being doesn’t exist, but if you move it like two SAP employees, you may find what works for you.

Let’s be honest: who voluntarily climbs 18 flights of stairs? This was exactly what SAP colleague Wai Theng Lee used to think, and she certainly wasn’t alone. The Malaysian employee’s workplace is on the 22nd floor of an office building in Kuala Lumpur and she parks her car on level four. She could take the elevator, but she only uses it to go up. After work, Wai Theng takes the stairs back down, and accumulates at least 1,000 steps in the process.

The SAP Presales employee has discovered the benefits of injecting more movement into her everyday life, and has been tracking her daily step count for the past year.

It started back in 2016 at the SAP Field Kick-Off meeting. There was a corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity where all participants recorded and submitted their total number of steps so that SAP APJ could make a matching donation. Brimming with new athletic ambition, Wai Theng began regularly tracking her activity levels, initially with the aid of her smartphone, and later with an activity tracker, supported by the SAP APJ Fit@SAP initiative.

It’s Not All About Going to the Gym

Competitiveness was always the main fun factor for Wai Theng. She can clearly remember her first role model: a colleague with a daily count of 8,000 steps. “Achieving this was my primary goal back then, and it seemed almost impossible,” she recounts. Starting out is always difficult, especially with an initial count of 2,500 steps per day.

“I’m not a gym goer and I don’t do any other sports,” Wai Theng admits. “I had to find another way.” She began her new project full of energy, and roped her colleagues into joining her. They noticed very quickly how small changes can lead to increased movement, such as taking a walk to a nearby shopping mall to have lunch together, or paying a visit to colleagues working down the corridor instead of messaging with them on Skype.

“This has become something of a routine in our office,” Wai Theng says with a smile. “Many of us have measured the number of steps at work, for example the distance between our own desk and the next meeting room.”

Wai Theng has even been motivated to incorporate her new routine in her private life. It all started with a bet with her mother: “You’re rather a person who enjoys lying around on the sofa. I bet you won’t manage it for more than three months,” said the 80-year-old to her daughter. But Wai wasn’t discouraged. After 11 months Wai Theng has proudly achieved a daily average of 14,000 steps.

Her three nieces, aged five, six, and nine, are equally impressed by their aunt’s new energy. “They are a big source of motivation for me. We often go walking together and discover nature,” says Wai Theng.

The real joy for her comes from being active with her family, friends and colleagues. “We motivate each other. Initially it was the athletic ambition that pushed me to achieve the highest step count, but now I just enjoy doing it for me and my own well-being, which has improved considerably.”

Challenging the Inner Couch Potato

On the other side of the world in Germany, SAP developer Hans Christian Gaedke has also discovered a similar passion. For the past year, he has been incorporating regular movement into his SAP work life.

To achieve his personal goal of losing weight, the mathematician started out with a calculation: “I wanted to try and burn between 250 and 300 more calories everyday than I consume.” By analyzing the data from his activity tracker and various smartphone apps,  he predicted a monthly weight loss of one kilo. And presto — after one year, the SAP employee is 12 kilos lighter.

Hans Christian was less concerned with formulas that dictate his ideal weight. Hans Christian is of small stature. “These never worked for me,” explains the colleague. “I researched what would be the right approach for me, but ultimately I realized that the most important thing is to feel comfortable. So, I set myself a goal, and with one more kilo to go, I’ve just about reached it,” he says with a wry smile.

Hans Christian was initially skeptical about using an activity tracker. The developer is in a wheelchair. Yet he still wanted to give it a go, and used his heart rate as a measurement value for his calculations in place of the number of steps. This was an essential function for him when selecting the choice of activity tracker. The result: The outdoor enthusiast’s heart rate has settled at 120 –135 beats per minute in his training sessions.

When quizzed about his inner couch potato, Hans Christian can only laugh. Getting out and about after lunch around the SAP St. Leon-Rot campus is no obstacle. “Movement has become a central part of my routine,” he explains. “There are some days when I can’t be bothered, and I don’t force myself. But this doesn’t happen very often,” he says.

The SAP employee has developed a relaxed and routine approach toward being active: “I am much fitter than I used to be, and I am enjoying life in a whole new way. Of course, a lot of it comes down to one’s own attitude, but I just find real enjoyment in taking good care of myself. Thanks to the increased movement, I have realized just how many possibilities are open to me.”

Run Your Way Program

A program led by SAP Global Health Management aims to support and encourage SAP employees of all generations and physical conditions to invest in their health and well-being by moving more throughout the day. Using Fit@SAP, a global activity platform powered by SAP HANA, employees can find their own way to move more together and develop healthy habits.