NHS Western Isles challenges you to walk the length of the Outer Hebrides

Are you ready to walk the length of the Outer Hebrides over six weeks this summer?

Sunday, 23rd August 2020, 9:17 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd August 2020, 9:17 am
Are you up for the NHS Western Isles’ step count challenge? More than 300 people took part in last year’s event.

If so, this is your chance to join the NHS Western Isles’ step count challenge.

You will cover 172 miles, tracking progress along a virtual route of the Outer Hebrides using the Big Team Challenge app and web system.

Last year’s challenge attracted more than 300 people from across the islands.

Participants stated that they found the challenge helped them reach individual goals, such as taking part in more everyday walking, taking part in other local physical activity events and some participants progressed to jogging and running. Many said they felt benefits to their health from the additional physical activity such as maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress.

While the residents of the Outer Hebrides are known for their resilience, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes and challenges which can have a negative effect on mental health.

With the introduction of shielding, self-isolating and an increase in home-working, there has been a rise in sedentary behaviour and inactivity across the country.

With people now able to move around more freely, the step count challenge offers the perfect opportunity to improve health through walking.

Dr Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, said: “Although the weather can be difficult sometimes, getting out and about around our beautiful islands can make a big difference to our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“This year’s Step Challenge will help people return to walking after the long months of lockdown and travel limitations. So sign up and step out in 2020!”

Karen Peteranna, NHS Western Isles Health Improvement Practitioner, said: “Last year’s step count challenge saw over 48,000 miles of steps logged by walkers across the Outer Hebrides; that equates to walking around the world twice!

“This was an incredible effort from walkers and we hope new and old walkers will be encouraged to join in this year as walking for just 30 minutes a day can bring benefits to our all round health; our physical, social and mental health.”

Participants are encouraged to use The Big Team Challenge web and app system; logging steps and distance along a virtual route of the Outer Hebrides.

Registration closes at midnight on August 31 when the six-week challenge starts on Barra in the south and finishes at the Butt of Lewis in the north.

The challenge is free and open to residents of the Outer Hebrides aged 13 years and over. Walking is a great way to improve your fitness and general health and wellbeing.

Participants can enter as an individual or as a team of two. Individuals should aim for 9,500 steps per day.

Teams of two should each aim for 4,750 steps per day and combine their steps to reach the finish line. To register visit Walk On Hebrides