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Steps to health has now kicked off

The five-week challenge ( 13 september -17 October) supports staff to form teams, walk and count your steps daily so that you can track your improvement during the challenge.

Published: 16 September 2021

The Steps to Health Challenge 2021 is finally ready to begin and it’s not too late to join in.

The five-week challenge takes place from September 13th until October 17th. It supports staff to form teams, walk and count your steps daily so that you can record your improvements over the five weeks.

The project team is in direct contact with the team coordinators who signed up teams to participate in June to get everyone into action for the 13th of September.  New teams can only participate using their own devices. Simply email stepstohealth@hse.ie to request to join in the action.

Despite ongoing COVID-19 public health, the Steps to Health organisers have been trying their very best to make the challenge fun and beneficial to all who participate.

We appreciate it’s hard when we are still having to follow public health measures to avoid the spread of COVID and not all staff are back up on email but it can still be possible to work together if you use WhatsApp, teleconferences, facetime and other online tools to keep in touch and motivate each other.

Watch what other staff have to say about Steps to Health 

Staff taking part can follow our activities and get updates and details of our competitions on Twitter search for @HSEsteps. We will also send a weekly update to all team coordinators.

We are asking all participants to record your daily step count and fill it in (anonymously if you wish) on the daily tracker chart. The daily tracker chart is available to download here. Please give your week 1 and week 5 totals to your team co-ordinator so that we can measure the annual improvement in activity over the five weeks. You don’t have to put your name on them – it can be recorded anonymously. We will then ask you as team coordinator to return these counts to the project team so that we can see how much progress has been made nationally.

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 until the 17th of October and supports staff to move more and count daily steps so that improvements can be made over time. 

Steps can be accumulated in many ways - take the stairs instead of the lift, walk during your break and after work, or get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way home.

It might take longer for those who are inactive at present. You can break up the steps into ten minute walks at a time and still get the health benefits. 

Sherifat Ukachukwu was leader of the ‘Scooby Doo’ team from Portiuncula University Hospital in 2020. After the five-week walking challenge was over, Sherifat’s lifestyle transformation was complete.

“It is a totally new lifestyle now. I wasn’t used to walking so much but now I walk everywhere. We were having so much fun with it that we decided that we weren’t going to stop and did four more weeks of it,” she laughed.

“It has been such a positive thing for my physical and mental health. Getting out walking is great for giving you head space.”

Sherifat and her team are relishing the fresh challenge this year.

“It is a great excuse to get out and about and discover all the lovely places in your surroundings and appreciate nature. I have been to lots of new places around Ballinasloe that I never even knew where there. I know it inside out by now – and I have landmarks all over the local area that I know how many steps it takes to get there,” she said.

“We are all really looking forward to getting going again.”

Coordinator and participant guides, competition details and other details are available here on the hse website

Best of luck from the project team: Clodagh Armitage, Norma Deasy, Noreen Turley, Jen Carrie, Áine O’Connell and Áine Lyng.

You can contact us at stepstohealth@hse.ie

Remember, have fun, make the most of it and let us know what you are up to @HSEsteps #HSEStepsChallenge