Walk a mile a day in December - for festive fitness countdown

It may be a bracingly cold December morning, but Kelly-Anne Sharman and Monika Katarzyte are showing no sign of feeling the cold.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 3:21 pm

Dressed in their Santa-inspired outfits – red velvet dresses, complete with festive socks and bright red scrunchies in their hair – they’re clearly ladies on a mission.

This morning they will get a couple of miles under their black and gold belts at Manor Fields Park, chipping away at their goal to walk 25 miles in December.

“It’s surprising how such great ideas come up while simply taking a socially distanced walk with a colleague ,” laughs Kelly-Anne, health and wellbeing officer at Manor and Castle Development Trust.

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Kelly-Anne and Monika

“When we came up with this 25 Miles in December challenge, we instantly felt excited about it and eager to share it with our members of This Girl Can group.”

The pair were recruited as part of a team of This Girl Can Officers in July, after Sheffield was awarded £100,000 in This Girl Can funding from Sport England.

The This Girl Can Officers deliver the projects through four community organisations; Manor and Castle Development Trust, Shipshape, SOAR and Zest, who are leading the initiative across the city.

Through community outreach work, the officers are establishing groups, encouraging women to do their own thing and connecting with women virtually, supporting them in leading more active and healthy lifestyles.

Kelly-Anne and Monika

Monika says: “To put the fun factor into the festive challenge we are encouraging participants to don their Christmas t-shirts, jumpers, socks and hats, or any other festive clothing from their wardrobes, grab a flask of their favourite hot drink, buddy up with someone specia,l and get out for an adventure.

"Take photos and upload them to the local This Girl Can Facebook groups to celebrate your everyday achievements, inspire others and countdown to Christmas in style!”

The ladies have also created a handy advent calendar, available to download now, adding: “We wanted to help people tick off their daily mile and stay motivated. There’s no hidden treats behind our advent tiles but the benefits of daily exercise are a far better reward.”

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “The 25 miles in December challenge is the perfect activity to get us all through the Christmas period, where it’s easy to stay indoors and hibernate on the sofa. The best thing is a mile a day is achievable for most of us and it can be weaved into our daily routines of the school run or a walk to the shop.

“As well as being achievable, this challenge also supports one of the main factors to leading an active lifestyle – consistency. When we are consistent it becomes the norm and when activity is a normal part of our weekly life, we are far more likely to keep it up.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved, chuck on those festive jumpers and take on the daily mile as we approach the countdown to Christmas.”