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Walking the World... in Wigan!
Monday 17th May, 2010

Walking the World... in Wigan!

Wigan Council staff are signing up for the biggest ‘time and motion’ study of all. And local children will benefit too.

It’s the Global Corporate Challenge, and workplace teams are putting on their pedometers to measure how many steps they take each day on their journey “around the world”. There steps are plotted on to a map, to see how far each team has travelled and, the aim is to improve fitness and reduce weight by not using the car and increasing the amount of steps taken every day during a 125 day challenge.

Lisa Gammack, the council’s employee relations manager, says: “Having a healthy and active workforce is essential as there is lots of evidence that this makes an organisation more effective and productive. There’s a great competitive spirit between teams which is really positive. If we can improve teamwork and have fun along the way, then everyone wins.”

The challenge began earlier this month, and 50 teams of 7 people have signed up across the council aiming to take at least 10,000 steps each day. Last year, 60,000 people took part from nearly 1000 workplaces across the world. 92 per cent completed the challenge with over two thirds saying they felt fitter and more active. The average weight loss was 4.6kg or just over 10 lbs.

Cllr Brian Baldwin, cabinet champion for people’s services, adds: “Wigan took part last year and did really well - with participants reporting improvements in fitness and weight loss, as well a great sense of pride and fun too.”

For every person who takes part this year, a school child in Wigan Borough will receive a free place for the children's own "walk the world" challenge, which will take place in September. This is part of wider health initiatives to improve children’s health against a background of concerns around childhood obesity and other issues. Partners on this project include Fit 4 Fun – Wigan Council's Children and Young People's Weight Management Service and MetroFresh, the council’s school meals service.

Cars account for one sixth of all the UK's carbon emissions. The gulf between the most efficient family car and the least is around two tonnes of carbon emissions and £1000 per year. The message from 'Walk the World' is to try to find alternatives to driving and feel better along the way.

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