Member Article

South Yorkshire‘s workplace fitness scheme off to a sprint start

A South Yorkshire initiative encouraging workers to become more active is being hailed a success.

The South Yorkshire Sport Workplace Challenge programme was launched on January 6 to get workplaces across South Yorkshire in shape.

The programme is being rolled out nationally by the County Sports Partnership Network (CSP Network) in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation Health at Work programme.

The programme aims to reach more than 8,000 workers, nationally, to encourage them to lead more active lifestyles.

In South Yorkshire more than 220 workers have taken part in the Workplace Challenge so far – including engineers, customer service assistants, teachers, police officers and local authority officers.

Emma Banks, a trainer at Barnsley-based Symphony Group who have signed up to the challenge, said: “I’m already reasonably active, but the competitive element of the workplace challenge has really made me up my game. I’ve been doing extra time in the gym, running for longer and more often, and taken up yoga.

“It’s also helped motivate other people in my department to do more together, including walking at lunchtime and going on group runs, and we’re even organising a mass game of badminton. The possibility of beating our rival Symphony department is brilliant motivation to do as much as we can!”

Dr John Radford, director of public health at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “The Workplace Challenge tool has helped raise the profile of physical activity across the Council. Many staff are using the tool to log activity and it is generating healthy motivation and competition across departments and staff groups. We hope to see this continue and gain momentum in the coming months.”

Now, South Yorkshire Sport is calling on workers from other professions across the South Yorkshire to take up the Workplace Challenge too.

Participants are given access to a free online activity log, which records all their activity and active travel.

The more physical activity workers take part in, the more points they earn for their place of work. The workplace with the highest average of points across their workforce will then be crowned South Yorkshire Workplace Challenge winners on Monday 3 March 2014.

Workers will also be given the chance to take part in inter-workplace competitions, with the opportunity to win an array of top-notch prizes.

Jo Drapier, development manager from South Yorkshire Sport said: “The Workplace Challenge roll out in South Yorkshire has been a great success.

“It has really captured the imagination of workplaces across South Yorkshire to be more active in a fun yet competitive way.

“We would now like to extend the programme out to workers across the region to encourage even more people to take up activity and in turn lead healthy and active lifestyles.”

Businesses in South Yorkshire who would like to take part in the Workplace Challenge are being urged to sign up their workplace and encourage their employees to take part and log their activity, for free.

Activities logged can remain private or public and workers will be able to analyse how many points they have earned (which roughly equates to calories burned), how much carbon dioxide they have saved (if a worker travels to their place of work actively, for example, cycling to work), weight loss, comparing against friends, colleagues and others taking part in the challenge.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Graham Vincent .

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