Fitness challenge to Western Isles businesses

Businesses throughout the Western Isles have clocked up more than 13,146 miles in a challenge designed to increase the physical activity levels of their employees.

The Walk at Work Step Count Challenge run by Scottish charity Paths for All has seen more than 4,500 workers and 200 businesses take part in the challenge across Scotland.

Scottish charity, Paths For All devised the Walk at Work Step Count Challenge to get employees throughout the country moving – counting and recording the number of steps each day using a pedometer. Walking is proven to improve mental and physical wellbeing, with recent studies suggesting that 2.2 million working days are lost each year through illness in Scotland at a cost of £1.2 billion.

Businesses across Scotland put teams of five people together for the challenge.

Over the course of eight weeks, each participant logged the distance they walked each day using a pedometer supplied by Paths for All and then every week the team captain collected the individual tallies to keep a definitive team total, submitting the totals to Paths for All. A challenge blog was kept up to date with all the news and team’s progress.

Carl Greenwood, Development Officer for Paths for All, says: “We are delighted with the results of the Walk at Work Step Count Challenge and want to congratulate everyone that took part across the Western Isles.

“However, it is the health benefits that walking brings to our daily lives that we are hoping to promote with this challenge and we have had many great stories posted on the blog. These include a bride that wore her pedometer to her wedding and many have turned their steps into miles and gone on virtual journeys all over the world. We are lucky to live in a country that has good pathways both in cities and rural areas that we can all take advantage of, and our ‘Simple Pleasures’ photo competition, that was run as part of the challenge, has presented us with hundreds of amazing photos of Scotland that people have taken whilst out and about.”

Sandra from Shelibost School says: “We had one team taking part in the challenge and all of us have seen a huge improvement in not only our fitness levels, but also our wellbeing.

“Walking really does make you feel better, helping us to have a better night’s sleep and helping to reduce stress levels. Getting away from the building for 10 minutes at lunchtime - does make such a difference to the day. The challenge really helped us kick start our activity and after seeing the benefits we are definitely going to continue with exercise now the challenge has finished.”

To sign up for the Walk to Work Step Count Challenge 2012 or to get more information on the work of Paths For All visit website