City firms rise to Business Healthy Challenge

More than 500 City workers took part in the Business Healthy Challenge, which encouraged City workers to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives.

The 31-day free challenge, which ran throughout the whole of Living Streets’ National Walking Month (1 – 31 May), saw 19 City firms, 136 teams and more than 500 people from a range of sectors take part.

The goal of the Business Healthy Challenge 2018 was to boost the health and wellbeing of City workers as they competed against co-workers and other teams across the Square Mile. It also aimed to encourage City workers to incorporate more physical activity into their day-to-day routines, improving long-term habits around exercise.

Teams of up to five staff were asked to log all their physical activity during the month-long challenge, earning points for any kind of physical activity that they completed.

In addition, many free activities – almost one a day – were offered to participants to help them boost their points. These included outdoor urban circuits classes, running clubs, guided lunchtime walks and an ebike tour.

More than 550,000 points were logged with some teams earning more than five times the 3,000-point mark.

Across the duration of the challenge, participants covered 221 million steps - equivalent to walking up and down the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater and St. Paul's Cathedral 40,000 times. On average, participants racked up 15,000 steps per day over the course of the month.

A total of 93,400 miles were covered, which is the same as walking around the outer boundary of the City of London 15,000 times, or, walking the length of every road in the City 1,555 times.

Walking proved to be the most popular activity followed by cycling.

Joyce Nash, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing board, said:

“This was a great turn out. Health and wellbeing should not be underestimated, and it is encouraging to see that City workers feel the same way.

“We all know that physically active brings so many benefits to both physical and mental health and we are committed to supporting a positive change in the health and wellbeing of the City’s workforce.”

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of Living Streets, said:

“Fitting exercise into a busy day can be difficult but the vast majority of us need to find a way to move more to stay fit and healthy.

“Just a 20 minute walk a day can make a huge difference to our health, helping to prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, certain cancers and depression.

“What’s more, walking is really easy to fit into your day – a lunchtime walk with colleagues, part of the journey to work, or a walking meeting – can all help our active minutes to add up. It’s no surprise it was the most popular activity.

“I’m thrilled to see that the Business Healthy Challenge has helped people move more; I’m sure they’re feeling healthier and happier for it.”

Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England, said:

“I am delighted that the Square Mile has once again benefited from the Business Healthy Challenge.

“Getting people out of the office and physically active is good for the mind and the body. That’s also good for business.

“Building a brisk walk into every day qualifies as real exercise and is a great way to enjoy the City.”

The challenge was hosted by the City of London Corporation’s Business Healthy, a community and online resource for business leaders committed to improving the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

The challenge was sponsored by Nomura and Cheapside Business Alliance. It was endorsed by Public Health England London and supported by Living Streets and the Active City Network.