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NHS Western Isles is taking part in a fun workplace walking challenge to boost the health and wellbeing of staff.

Employees at NHS Western Isles have formed virtual teams and will motivate each other to get moving during the working day as part of the Step Count Challenge, an initiative from walking charity Paths for All.

Teams will be racking up their step counts with things like lunchtime walks, active breaks, walking meetings, and standing screen breaks during the eight week challenge.

Jeanne Mackay, Health Improvement Practitioner said: “Walking is great exercise. It is low risk and accessible. It can assist with weight loss, improves your mood and can help prevent illness. No need to buy an expensive gym membership and you don’t need special equipment. It’s easy to fit walking into your daily activity. 

Recent findings from UK workplaces reveal that half of all employees experience poor mental health at work, including stress, anxiety and depression. Regular walking can reduce the effects of poor mental health, particularly walking in green space. 

Paths for All run two national Step Count Challenges a year, one in the spring and the other in the autumn. It also offers bespoke Step Count Challenges which allow organisations to run their own, in-house challenge at any time. The aim is to bring colleagues together to motivate each other to walk more and be more active and reverse the trend of sedentary behaviour at work. 

Carl Greenwood, Senior Development Officer at Paths for All said: “Fun, connection with colleagues, and feeling the benefits of walking and being more active throughout the working day are what the Step Count Challenge is all about. 

“The workplace is where the majority of us spend a great deal of our time, so it’s incredibly important that staff take a break from the screen and employers put wellbeing at the forefront of their mind. 

“Walking is one of the best things we can do for our physical, social and mental health. It’s free, you don’t need special equipment, and it can be easily incorporated into the working day. 

“Research shows that employees who are physically active in and around the working day take fewer sick days, are more motivated and productive, and are more able to concentrate, so walking is not just good for us, it’s good for business. 

“Challenges like this help businesses put their staff’s health and wellbeing at the heart of what they do while making walking and moving more interactive and social so I’d encourage other businesses to follow NHS Western Isles’ lead.”

To find out more about the Step Count Challenge, visit www.stepcount.org.uk, or for more information on how Paths for All can help support workplaces to be more active, visit www.pathsforall.org.uk/workplacewalking