Leeds Beckett University launches wellbeing challenge

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University has launched a six-week health and wellbeing challenge.

More than 700 employees are taking part in the Beckett Steps challenge, which will see them walk 1,015 miles; the distance from London to Rome.

During the course of the challenge, staff will record their steps using pedometers and track their progress on the route via a specially-designed interactive map.

Activities such as cycling and swimming will also be recorded.

Employees have formed into teams of five and are expected to average at least 10,000 steps a day over the six-week period.

The challenge will culminate in June when the ITC World Triathlon series arrives in Leeds.

This is the second year that the organisation has run the wellbeing challenge. In 2015, 380 employees walked more than 90,000 miles; the distance between Land’s End and John O’Groats, via the university’s Headingley Campus. Employees took a total of 180 million steps.

The 2015 wellbeing initiative saw a 35% increase in physical activity levels, a more than 5% improvement in overall wellbeing and in mental wellbeing, as well as a 1-3% reduction in blood pressure.

Less than one in five (18%) of those who took part in last year’s challenge were male. The university has worked with Leeds Beckett’s Centre for Men’s Health to improve this figure. This year, 34% of participants are male.

John Hamilton, head of safety, health and wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University, said: “We created the Beckett Steps challenge to try and engage all colleagues at our university in something that would be fun, and also improve their health and wellbeing.

“With one in three of our campus-based staff taking part this year, we have been overwhelmed by the level of interest and are incredibly excited about engaging such a large proportion of our staff in this wellbeing initiative.

“This is the second year we have run the step challenge and last year we were able to gather evidence to demonstrate the benefits in increased activity levels and mental health, which show that exercise can be fun and beneficial to health and wellbeing.”