10,000 steps doesn’t sound like a lot.
It’s a few hundred just to the office coffee machine, surely? Plus I must do at least 1,000 running around trying to get my little one ready and off to school each morning.
Nah this is going to be easy, I thought to myself confidently, as I signed up for Sheffield’s Move More Month. And I remained confident I could hit that target every day throughout June...until that night when I checked my watch and discovered I’d only done 4,300 steps all day. Eek.
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.
Personally, since my little girl came along three years ago, I’ve watched my exercise routine almost completely dry up. It’s something that’s too easy to let happen. With that in mind, myself and nine colleagues have signed Team Star up to Move Move Month’s Workplace Challenge, which first launched in the city a year ago, and saw 374 teams - of 3,000 participants - from around Sheffield generate a total of 4.4 million Move More Minutes. Incredible, right? Challengers can use the Move More app, or pedometers and other devices, to monitor their movement throughout the month, and the results are then displayed on a website.
And for the competitive among us, there’s the added bonus of going head-to-head with other organisations across the city (we’re coming for you Team Radio Sheffield...) competing for virtual ‘medals’ and seeing your efforts side by side on the Move More league table.
So, starting today, each member of Team Star has vowed to hit at least 10,000 steps a day for the next month - donning our trainers to walk to work, heading out for a lunchtime stroll, and shunning the lift in favour of the stairs. As busy adults, many of us with children, we may not have the time we used to have - for gym sessions and fitness classes - but Move More is about motivating ourselves to incorporate exercise into our daily lives, by walking to the shop instead of driving, or going for a bike ride, instead of plonking infront of the television. It really is a case of every step counts!
The Star’s editor, Nancy Fielder, is the first to admit it isn’t always easy to keep your steps up: “Some of my days are so full of meetings it is hard to fit in walking - other than to the coffee machine,” she said.
“So I’ll be heading out with my children after tea to have fun as a family while on the move. The challenge, as for so many families, is getting it done before bedtime.”
Head of photography, Marisa Cashill, said: “I’m really looking forward to making sure I get out and take a walk during my lunch break instead of working through just because I’m not in the mood to move.
“I am planning to take my dog walking after work, further than I normally would and tracking my steps will help me monitor exactly what I’m achieving.”
Key Area Editor for Sheffield, Ellen Beardmore, said: “I’m currently training for a triathlon, so Move More is another way to monitor the amount of exercise I’m doing.
“I’ll be interested to see how many steps I take during gym classes, and will be going all out to beat the other team.
“I might even skip the lift at the Star offices...”
Acting editor, Rob hollingworth, said: “I walk our children to school every day so that will help me clock up some yards. I’m also going to walk round the office, on the hour, every hour. It’s a good reason for a screen break and should do me some good.”
Sports reporter, Chris Holt, said: “Covering football means that pies are all too readily available so, now the season’s over, it’s probably about time to shift the pounds brought about by various meat and potato offerings around the country’s grounds. I live a few miles from The Star office so I’m going to make a pledge to walk to work to kick things off and then take it from there. The buses round our way are a bit rubbish anyway.”
Move More Month is a unique physical activity programme, which launched for the first time in the city last year, and aims to get thousands of people on the move across Sheffield. Last year, participants clocked up an amazing 6.5 million active minutes - and organisers are keen to smash that figure in 2017.
Move More Month was created by the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and hopes to see Sheffielders combined minutes reach a staggering ten million this June.
Professor Robert Copeland, director for the NCSEM 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: “Last year’s Move More Month was such a great success.
“Thousands of people got involved and it was a really positive way to show the city how we can work as a team and support each other in becoming more physically active for the benefit of our health and wellbeing.
“We hope that people of all ages and abilities will get involved this year too. 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.
“Another part of Move More Month is the Schoolyard Challenge, in which 20 participating schools - approximately 7,000 pupils - from all corners of Sheffield this year will clock up as many active minutes as possible.”
There are numerous organisations across the city that are supporting the campaign, including Yorkshire Cancer Research, who will be partnering with the NCSEM to deliver the Move More Workplace Challenge aspect of the Month for 2017.
Regional, independent charity Yorkshire Cancer Research is supporting the initiative with a £50,000 investment as part of its new strategy to reduce the risk of cancer by encouraging healthy lifestyles, revealing four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, eating well, drinking less alcohol, being active and staying safe in the sun.
Some of the top tips for getting your steps up throughout June include: getting off the bus a few stops early, walking to work or to the station, taking the stairs or walking up escalators, walking the children to school, and taking the dog out.
Visit www.movemoremonth.co.uk to find out more.