Published: 22 July 2020
Why a Step Challenge
Active staff can have longer and healthier lives as being active regularly can:
- reduce the risk of heart disease by half
- lower the risk of strokes
- reduce the risk of some cancers, particularly colon and breast cancer
- reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can help control diabetes
- improve mood and reduce the risk of depression
- manage weight and reduce high blood pressure
Walking at a moderate intensity is ideal for everyone; particularly those who may not be regularly active at present. The benefits also extend to the wider work environment, with many staff who took part in previous Steps to Health Challenges reporting that it improved morale and wellbeing in their workplace.
How the Steps to Health Challenge works
The Steps to Health Challenge aims to encourage more staff to start walking and to hopefully take it up as a lifetime habit. The goal of the Challenge is to encourage most staff to walk up to 10,000 steps daily.
Each work location can form teams consisting of 2 to 10 people and each team will have a team co-ordinator. The role of the team co-ordinator is crucial to creating a sense of enjoyment and encouragement for staff. Each participant can note their daily steps on a card provided and the team efforts can be totalled weekly. Staff will have the opportunity to see how other teams around the country are doing via social media.
The Steps to Health Challenge in 2020
The Steps to Health Challenge will be different this year because of COVID-19. However, it will still be fun and beneficial to all who participate. While some of our staff are never off their feet, many may be finding it difficult to reach their usual levels of physical activity, particularly those working from home. The Steps to Health Challenge runs for five weeks, supporting us as staff to walk more and count our steps daily so that we can record our improvements over time.
Due to COVID-19 we all have to be mindful of social distancing. So this year we are encouraging smaller teams, between 2 and 10 participants, along with a team co-ordinator. We encourage you to walk as part of a virtual team if you are working from home during the challenge and suggest you walk with just one colleague at a time if you are in a workplace.
If you took part in this challenge last year please reuse your step counter. You can also use your smartwatch, mobile phone app or similar devices to count your daily steps.
We will have some new competitions and prizes that will run throughout the challenge to keep us all motivated.
How to register a team
The Challenge has its own microsite at www.hse.ie/stepschallenge . Click on the link on the microsite to register a team. Registration is open from Monday 20th July until Sunday 9th August. This will also be supported by a Twitter account (@hsesteps). Participants are encouraged to post to social media using #HSEStepsChallenge.