Sodexo, a leading provider of on-site service solutions, has been leading the way for fitness in the workplace after the company signed up to the Physical Activity in the Workplace pledge, part of the Department of Health's Responsibility Deal.

Research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day will significantly improve health. Putting one foot in front of the other can help build stamina, burn excess calories and give you a healthier heart.

75 Sodexo employees in groups of five will be competing with each other in a six-week challenge to see which team can rack-up the most steps. The competition kicked-off today, Monday 30 January at Sodexo UK and Ireland HQ in Holborn. All participants have been given pedometers that will record the number steps, distance and calories burned.

Together, the team hope to achieve over 31 million steps by the end of the six-week challenge which is equivalent to approximately 22,000 kilometres or over half way round the equator!

Other activities which have been organised by Sodexo Healthwise champions Ben Edwards, communications manager, and Sean Page, database research manager, that support the Physical Activity pledge include weekly staff walking and running clubs, which were launched last summer. This involves lunchtime walks and after-work runs along some of City's famous sites including the London Eye, the Millennium Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and Fleet Street.

In other parts of the country, Healthwise champions, Amy Connelly, marketing assistant, and Rob Davie, buying assistant, had a very successful 2011 through their Zumba and Boxercise classes which took place every week at Sodexo's Stevenage office. Rob also organised five-a-side football for staff for a period of 10 weeks which saw staff getting competitive on the field. The pair are already planning to roll-out similar fun and exciting exercise programmes for 2012 starting next month.

Tony Cooke, government relations director and six-week challenge lead at Sodexo, said: “Since walking can be done almost anywhere, any time, in any weather, it means that you can easily fit it into your daily routine.
“By turning the activity into a competition, it adds an element of fun and excitement for staff. I am already seeing many teams coming up with ideas and tactics on how to increase their daily steps. ”

Sodexo signed up to six Responsibility Deal pledges last year, including Out of Home Calorie Labelling, Salt Reduction, Physical Activity in the Workplace, Occupational Health Standards, Health & Wellbeing and Healthier Staff Restaurants.

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