Paths for All launched their Step Count Challenge in 2011. Step Count promotes staying active in the workplace. Grab a team of 5 people, log your daily steps and keep an eye on the leaderboard to see where you rank. The challenge provides the perfect motivation to take the stairs instead of the lift and get out on your lunch-break. Since launching thousands of people have taken part in the challenge from workplaces across Scotland.

SNS have taken on the Step Count Challenge for the first time this month with three teams fancying their chances at the top of the table. The “healthy” competition (pardon the pun) created has seen our teams making some intense efforts to keep moving, including parking further from the work just to rack up the step-count.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Louise Cameron at Paths for All for this special guest blog. We say lucky because as the Communications & Marketing Officer for the charity, which aims to “Get Scotland walking, everyone, everyday, everywhere”, she is quite literally always on the go.

photograph of Louise Cameron from Paths for All

How long have you been a part of the Paths for All team?

I’ve been at Paths for All for two and a half years now. It’s a really rewarding place to work, particularly working in the Communications team. I get to tell the heart-warming stories of people who are changing lives by helping to get Scotland walking every day.

The challenges have been happening for a while now. What was the original thought behind the initiative?

Physical inactivity contributes to nearly 2,500 deaths in Scotland each year. Our work focuses on creating a happier and healthier country by getting people more active.

The easiest way to do this is to encourage and support people to start walking more in their everyday lives. Walking is easy, free, most people can do it and its simple to fit in, both in and around your work. The Step Count Challenge is one way that we help workplaces get their employees to start sitting less and moving more. An active workforce takes fewer sick days and are more focussed.

For those who haven’t been a part of the challenge before, what can they expect?

You can expect to surprise yourself at how much walking you can actually fit into your working day when you thought you didn’t have any time to walk anywhere.

Do you feel that the challenge has even made everyone at the Paths for All office more conscious of their own steps?

Walking meetings, standing desks, lunchtime walks, and using the stairs are always encouraged at Paths for All, not just during the challenge. The main difference is probably the ‘friendly’ competition which creeps into the office during each challenge…

photograph of a group of Paths for All team members smiling and walking at work

The challenge page tells us all about the ways in which a short walk can go a long way. We had no idea that being active can actually reduce the risk of heart disease by half. What is the main reason you go walking?

It really can go a long way. It can not only reduce the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and stroke, but it can also help with depression and anxiety.

The main reason I love walking is probably for the headspace. Growing up somewhere rural, the outdoors and fresh air have always been important to me. But now living in the capital, close to some great greenspace, I still get the same benefits – a clear head and a wee energy boost.

This is the first time SNS Group have taken part and we’ve loved it. Are you impressed with the number of workplaces that have got involved in the challenge?

We’re always impressed by the enthusiasm that people show when each challenge comes around. From nurses and accountants, to builders and MSPs, it’s amazing to see the huge range of workplaces that take part from all over Scotland.

What would you say to any readers wondering if this is the challenge for them?

The challenge is not about walking marathons, or even about reaching 10,000 steps a day. It’s about making small changes to your daily routine and feeling good about it.

In fact, the biggest feedback we always get from people taking part is that they had fun. They had a laugh with their workmates, their team bonded when they really didn’t expect it, they’ve found a new ‘work bestie’ – and all through something as simple as walking.

photograph of people smiling and laughing whilst out walking. Children, adults and babies in push-chairs.

Are you up to the challenge? Find out more about the charity and the Step Count Challenge today!


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