Best foot forward

27 January 2012

Putting their best foot forward are Rob Johnson (Information Services Department), Helen Williams (Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor), Professor April McMahon (Vice-Chancellor) and Allan Evans (Porter).
Putting their best foot forward are Rob Johnson (Information Services Department), Helen Williams (Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor), Professor April McMahon (Vice-Chancellor) and Allan Evans (Porter).

Starting on the 30th January staff at Aberystwyth University will be seeing how far they can walk in 60 days.

The Walk the World scheme, organised by the Health, Safety and Environment Department of the University, aims to encourage staff to take regular breaks and make positive lifestyle choices by increasing the amount of exercise they participate in.

Building on the 2011 initiative, this year’s scheme not only encourages staff to clock up their steps and log on to a website but also enables staff to log how far they swim or cycle. 

Helen Williams, Assistant Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor at Aberystwyth University and coordinator the Walk the World scheme explains: “Last year, collectively, the staff of the University walked 46,334 miles in 80 days, enough to circumnavigate the world twice!  This year, in response to feedback from staff we’re also including the distance cycled and swum by participants. Also, rather than taking a direct route we’re hoping to travel, albeit virtually, to some very exciting locations and travel further in a shorter period of time.

”A number of staff taking part in Walk the World during 2011 reported that they experienced many health benefits and enjoyed the challenge. Taking small steps to improve fitness whilst working can have major benefits; many people are unaware of the fact that display screen equipment injuries borne from long hours working on computers are one of the leading causes of occupational ill health today.”

Staff taking part in the scheme are provided with free pedometers and will be able to log their steps, swims and cycles on a website which tracks their personal progress and compares it to a journey around the UK’s coastline.  The personal contribution of staff also counts towards departmental totals and will see University departments competing against each other for the top spot. 

Endorsing the scheme, Aberystwyth University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor April McMahon said: “The health of the University’s staff is vitally important.  Our Walk the World scheme actively encourages people to take regular short breaks from desk-based jobs. Making small changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift and engaging in regular exercise is known to have significant mental and physical health benefits. I’m looking forward to following our progress and to contributing towards our journey to better health.”

University staff will receive regular updates on the collective progress of the participants as they visit interesting locations across the globe.  Any University staff wishing to participate in this year’s challenge are encouraged to contact Helen Williams at the Health, Safety and Environment team hew@aber.ac.uk.

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Contacts

Alwena Hughes Moakes
Communications and Public Affairs
Aberystwyth University
01970 621933
07896 653 733
crm@aber.ac.uk