Two weeks in – and Move More Month’s Workplace Challenge is really hotting up.
Here at Team Star, we’ve been bashing out minutes, pounding out steps and enjoying a healthy amount of ‘smack talk’ with our rivals at HR Media and BBC Radio Sheffield.
All across the city, companies are getting into the Move More spirit and going head to head throughout June, each trying to accrue the most ‘activity minutes’ and crown their team the Workplace Challenge Kings by the end of the month.
Last year 374 Sheffield teams – or 3,000 participants – generated 4.4 million Move More Minutes. Incredible, right? Well this year, organisers are hoping to smash those figures – and so far, so good.
HR Media took part in the challenge last year and are taking the competition even more seriously this year.
Senior account executive Hannah Johnson said: “Everyone in the HR Media team is backing the Move More campaign and relishing the challenge. We all have the app downloaded and most of us have it connected to our own pedometers too.”
On workdays I find it easier to reach the 10,000 steps. I have to put more effort in at the weekends to reach the same goal.
Account manager Eleanor Head has organised a regular team walk, in an effort to keep the team’s minutes up: “I wanted to find a walk which was nearby, could work around our lunch hour and was for people of different abilities,” she said.
“I found a brilliant website called the Outdoor City which revealed that the Norfolk Heritage Trail runs behind our office. We will be able to spend our lunch hour getting some fresh air and exercise while also clocking up some steps and active minutes.”
Copywriter Jill Theobald said: “You don’t realise just how many steps you take around the office every day, it’s great to build up an idea of that. You’re then able to see how many more minutes you need to be active for to reach your daily target.”
HR Media’s head of video and creative, Simon Waller, said: “We have developed a fierce competition with The Star, it’s a satisfying feeling to open the league table and find we’re above them. Even our morning tea and talks have become more active, we now call it ‘tea and trot’.”
According to the NHS, walking 10,000 steps every day can significantly improve your health. Often overlooked as a form of exercise, regularly putting one foot in front of the other is classed as moderate-intensity activity that can build stamina, burn excess calories, and give you a healthier heart. This is great news for people like me who too often claim they ‘don’t have time’ to exercise, mistakenly believing that if we’re not wearing gym gear and pounding a treadmill, it doesn’t count.
Challengers can use the Move More app, pedometer, or other device, to monitor their movement throughout the month, and the results are displayed on a website.
Faye Smith, MD of Sheffield marketing agency, Keep Your Fork – which is also taking part in the challenge – said: “My job can be very sedentary. I saw how motivated my colleagues Alex and Becky were with their FitBits, so I got one too and I now have a routine that works for me. I swim, I power walk, and I run a women’s walking group. My partner and I have even been starting our date nights with an hour’s walk.
“In all honesty, I am a quietly competitive person, so when I feel the buzz on my wrist that I’ve achieved my 10,000 steps for the day, or when I check my phone and see I am still 400 steps short, it definitely inspires me to keep going. And checking out the leader board each week is a big motivator.”
Marketing assistant Becky Dobson said: “I am loving being part of the Workplace Challenge. I walk to and from work every day, from Walkley to Ranmoor, which I’m really enjoying. On work days I find it easier to reach the 10,000 steps as I’m usually up to 8,000ish just from the commute. I have to put more effort in at the weekends to reach the 10,000 steps. I want to see Team KYF finish in the top ten.”
Business development associate, Alex Gardner, said: “When I first got a FitBit, I thought I would be stepping 8,000-10,000 steps a day without trying, as a busy working mum, but the reality was somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000. I thought, time to get moving.
“For the Workplace Challenge, I’m now averaging 12,000 steps a day and, most importantly, my kids and I are away from screens and outside catching up and putting their little worlds to rights. I love the Move More Campaign and the competition it has created in our workplace... bring it on.”
Professor Robert Copeland, director for the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, and Move More, said: “Move More Month is an ambition for Sheffield to become one of the most physically active places in the UK by 2020. We want to change the culture of the city to make it easier to be physically active as part of everyday life.
“In Sheffield, through the NCSEM partnership, we are very much leading the way in terms of public health and physical activity research and the Move More initiative really puts us at the forefront.
“Through the campaign, we hope to see meaningful improvement in the health, wellbeing and quality of life of everybody living in the city.”
Dr Ollie Hart, a GP at Sloan Medical Centre, in Heeley, and a key figure behind the project, said: “As a GP I know that being physically active is probably one of the most important things you can do, so Move More Month is our opportunity to have a real focus on its importance and, most importantly, have fun with it.
“The Workplace Challenge is all about encouraging friendly competition between colleagues, businesses and organisations across Sheffield, with the aim of encouraging everyone to Move More.”
Mikaela Hulme, Move More team leader at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Moving more than we usually do is definitely a challenge. Trying to think of new ways to get more steps in is difficult. I’ve been turning down lifts to the train station from colleagues, and we’ve been trying to make tea and coffee in the ground floor kitchen at work. Every few steps boost our daily total.”
Yorkshire Cancer Research is this year’s official partner for the Workplace Challenge, investing £50,000 in the scheme. A third of the most common cancers in the UK, including breast and bowel cancer, could be prevented by moving more, sitting less, having a healthy diet and being a healthy weight.
Mikaela added: “We thought we should put our money where our mouths are and join the challenge ourselves, so we’ve signed up with a team of 10. We’re all trying to go for a lunchtime walk, and we’re trying to email less and walk across the office to discuss things, which has also proved to be a positive change. As a charity we already have our own running club and membership has increased since we signed up.”
While some members were already in a nice fitness routine, it’s given others the boost they needed to get moving.
Team member Christie Watson said: “I’ve been intending to get more active for a while now but with commuting to work every day and working long hours it can be difficult to find the time and motivation. Signing up to the Workplace Challenge has really spurred me into action and I’m already feeling the benefits. I’m hoping to win the prize for ‘most improved’.”
n There’s still time to sign up to Move More and start accruing your individual activity points.
Visit www.movemoremonth.co.uk for details.