New research has revealed that taking part in a workplace walking challenge boosts your mental wellbeing and increases social connectedness.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh surveyed hundreds of people who took part in Paths for All’s Step Count Challenge earlier this year and found “statistically significant” changes in participants’ happiness and life satisfaction.
The new data comes as teams of five workmates across the country are being invited to sign up for the autumn challenge – an eight-week initiative starting on Monday, 5 October to get everyone moving more, sitting less and staying connected in and around the working day.
Victoria Whiteford, MSc student at the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre who led the research said: “These findings add evidence that the Step Count Challenge had a positive mental wellbeing impact on those who took part.
“The challenge helped people to be outside more, gave them a focus and a distraction from other stresses, made them more productive, helped them sleep better and provided more social interaction that they would have otherwise had.”
During May, over 4000 furloughed and home workers participated in a special nationwide edition of the charity’s Step Count Challenge, with over 90 per cent of participants saying the motivation of the challenge helped them cope better with the Covid-19 restrictions.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “Our special lockdown edition of the Step Count Challenge was one of our most successful, with over 930 teams from across Scotland taking part. The vast majority of participants reported feeling much better for it and are planning to continue being more active during the working day in their ‘new normal’.
“The lockdown has reinvigorated many to get out and enjoy the outdoors – and surveys have shown that Scots have increased their walking during this unprecedented time more than any other part of the UK.
“Our hope is that we can build on this success by working with even more organisations to create a workplace walking culture and hence a happier and healthier workforce.”
Everyone taking part in the autumn Step Count Challenge will be motivated to reach and exceed goals throughout the eight weeks by Paths for All’s blogs, tips, fun competitions, and every team will be automatically entered into prize draws worth hundreds of pounds each week.
Visit www.stepcount.org.uk to register a team for £30 or to find out more.