HEALTH professionals from NHS Scotland travelled more than 216,000km by foot during a walking challenge to encourage an active workplace.
More than 970 NHS Grampian employees took part in a bespoke Step Count Challenge over a four-week period, racking up a combined 284,587,427 steps.
Competing within 197 teams, the staff walked the equivalent distance of UK to Australia 14 times, saving 3,994kg in CO₂e emissions.
The initiative was delivered by Scottish walking charity, Paths for All, which runs bespoke Step Count Challenges as well as running a nationwide version open to all workplaces.
This milestone marks the third successive challenge undertaken by NHS Grampian with each challenge bringing more and more competitors.
James Norman, Public Health Practitioner at NHS Grampian and the Step Count Challenge co-organiser, said:
“Every year our Step Count Challenge seems to entice more and more participants. We started the program in 2020 with around 70-80 teams, this increased to about 150 teams last year, and we are delighted to see the uptake has risen for the third year straight.
“Our staff work extremely hard and are constantly on their feet, whether it is seeing to a patient or meeting important administrable deadlines. That’s why it’s important for us to remind them to keep active for their own health while taking part in a fun activity.”
The challenge has been more competitive than ever before, with our two top participants each walking more than 1,000,000 steps in a month.
Dozens of NHS Grampian practices, hospitals and offices took part, with 5 teams entering from one GP practice alone and it was great to see some weird and wonderful team names such as ‘Feet on Fire’ and ‘Strolling in the Dreich’.
Staff welfare is a top priority for NHS Grampian, and as such have set up a service called ‘We Care’ to facilitate staff health and wellbeing. The Step Count Challenge is just one of the things the organisation does to support its incredibly hard-working staff.
Weekly challenges were also introduced to make the program more exciting and engaging.
Katrina Schofield, Workplace Engagement Officer at Sustrans Scotland and step challenge co-organiser, said:
“We’ve had a lot of teams interacting on social media and taking part in photo and sightseeing bingo challenges on their walks which has really brought a friendly competitiveness to the challenge.
“Paths for All’s Step Count Challenge has been a great way to promote our active and mindfulness message to the NHS Grampian staff in what has been a difficult two years.
“We hope this challenge continues to motivate staff to get their steps up and boost mental and physical wellbeing.”
Jodi-Lee, the captain of the winning team ‘Cirque De Sore Legs’ said:
“We were all needing a bit of motivation after Christmas, so the Step Count Challenge seemed like a good place to start.
“As the challenge progressed and we saw our team climbing steadily up the leaderboard, it really drove our determination to do more. We all found new routes to go exploring either on our own, with our families and friends, our dogs, and our friends and colleagues in other teams. We’ve all agreed that this challenge has been great for our mental health as well our physical health.
“We’re all so proud of each other. We’ve all seen a different side to each other, and this team has proved that with consistency, determination, positivity, and courage you can do anything you set your mind to.”
Paths for All offers tailor-made Step Count Challenges which invite organisations of all sizes to set up their own walking challenge to keep their workforce active by connecting colleagues working remotely and in the office.
Carl Greenwood, the Walking for Health Senior Development Officer at Paths for All, said:
“NHS Grampian has shown a great deal of determination and focus throughout the challenge. The steps accumulated over the last four weeks have been nothing short of amazing.
“Walking is one of the simplest and best things we can do for our physical, mental, and social health. It’s free, you don’t need any special equipment, and it can be easily incorporated into the average working day.
“The Step Count Challenge can help businesses put their staff’s health and wellbeing at the heart of what they do whilst making exercise fun.
“As people commit to walking more and more every day this helps us work towards our goal of a happier, healthier, and greener Scotland.”
The Step Count Challenge is made up of teams of five and has one simple aim of encouraging people to walk more to feel happier and healthier, with participants having access to leaderboards, goal setting and team chat to keep them motivated and connected.
Businesses can register a team of five for just £30 – and can customise their own challenges with tailored branding and personalised messaging.
A nationwide Step Count Challenge, which is open to all workplaces, starts on Monday, May 2nd, and will run for eight weeks.
Paths for All believes regular walking is key to leading a happy and healthy life. The charity believes walking is more important than ever before, championing the array of associated benefits of short local walks where it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Paths for All’s focus is clear: it wants to get Scotland walking: everyone, every day, everywhere.
NHS Grampian will be taking part in the Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge run by Sustrans. This is a national challenge for workplaces across Scotland where individuals or teams can sign up as part of their workplace by leaving the car behind and logging their sustainable journeys.
Those working from home can record local journeys too. For NHS Grampian staff who took part in the step challenge, it’s an opportunity to keep up their positive habits and for those that missed the step challenge this year, it’s a chance to challenge themselves and win some prizes.
For more information on Paths for All, please visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk.