Most people spend an average of around 1800 hours per year at work, with Australians slightly below the OECD average.  Combine this with 2500 hours sleep per year and it is not surprising that some people complain of not enough time to exercise or keep fit.  Recently we decided to trial a 100-day Global fitness challenge for our team who generally spend most of their working day sitting in front of a computer screen.

The aim of the challenge was to walk, run , swim or ride the equivalent of 10,000 steps a day.  In doing so, each team of 7 joined in a virtual tour of the world over 100 days learning something about each country as they progressed. Initially we weren’t sure what the take up rate would be or whether our business or participants would gain any value from the experience.  The results were very surprising and I would certainly recommend other businesses to give it go.  The initial surprise was that around 90% of staff agreed to participate which was a lot higher than  we expected. Secondly, having split everyone up in teams of seven or eight there was a great level of friendly competition and banter between teams.

Only 13% of participants recorded the recommended 10,000 steps per day average at the start of the challenge and by the end of the challenge over 50% were averaging over 10,000.  For most of those who did not regularly exercise each day it was a realisation of how little exercise one does in a typical desk job.  Most people reported a reduction of stress, better eating habits, weight loss and above all else, simply feeling better about themselves.  In an age where heightened stress and depression are a common place in our society anything that employers can do to reduce this I think is very important.

The Global corporate challenge now has over 1500 businesses competing each year and I will certainly be recommending that we participate again next year.