The University of Worcester, as one of the largest employers in the city is actively supporting its staff and students towards personal wellbeing through its programme that helps you get Fit for Life.
The programme has six elements Eat Well, Drink Well, Exercise Well, Sleep Well, Work Well and Stay Well, which are planned to be inclusive of the whole University Community. The University has over 1000 staff and 10,000 students drawn from a diverse geographical area that can potentially want to get Fit For Life. The impact of any wellbeing campaign has the potential to influence not only on wellness in Worcestershire, but also much further afield.
After Christmas there is often a big push to tap into people’s post festive season “guilt” to eat more sensibly, perhaps give up alcohol for the month of January or join a gym to lose any extra pounds gained. However, this commitment often fades as January passes, so the University of Worcester decided to do something different; something to capture the imagination and prolong individuals’ engagement with a positive lifestyle change, however small. [symple_highlight color="blue"]Around the World in 80 days is a campaign which fits well with the Exercise Well element of the Fit for Life initiative. Staff and students can undertake any physical activity – walk, row, push, wheel, swim, row etc – and log the miles to help meet target of 24,902 miles; the circumference of the world! [/symple_highlight]It was decided to launch the campaign by inviting staff and students to complete the University mile, a walk around the St Johns campus, raising awareness not just of the mile itself but also the benefits of taking a break from work or study. In addition, it was seen that this would be an ideal way to support raising funds for the University’s charity of the year – St Richards Hospice, with walkers asked to contribute £1 for each mile they complete in the first week.
Add your mile to Get Fit for Life
The campaign was announced through the University weekly newsletter in December, and then repeated in January, with a count down on the University plasma screens. Staff are able to add their miles through the staff portal and students through their log in page. Adding miles in this way enables an electronic totaliser to be used which then feeds into new plasma screen images which identify not just the total miles achieved, but also the number of miles outstanding; hopefully encouraging people to do more physical activity to help achieve the total mileage. Individuals are being encouraged to use smart phone apps such as groundmiles or map my route to count their miles, but pedometers and odometers have also been made available. University departments have also been encouraged to complete with one another to contribute the greatest number of miles and likewise the student union clubs and student groups.
Create your own personal target
A key aspect of this campaign is the ability for individuals to create their own personal targets yet contribute to the bigger University ambition. The target can be small for those who have not previously been very active or encourage those who are already active to do more. They could walk from Worcester to Malvern, or cross the Sahara or row the Atlantic. The only limit is one’s imagination!!
Join the 80 day countdown
Personal sustainability is underpinned by maintaining and improving one’s own health and wellbeing and supporting others to do so too. The challenge is to make these impactful and the positive lifestyle changes sustainable. The Around the World in 80 days campaign is just one example of a way to increase consciousness of how much or little individuals are doing and to raise awareness of the benefits of physical exercise. How successful the campaign is will be very visible – just take a look at the University plasma screens during the next 80 days!!