St John's Community Hospital staff in Sligo put their best foot forward in the Steps to Health Challenge

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Operation Transformation walks

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The HSE staff Steps to Health Challenge has completed its third year in operation and has been an overwhelming success. It’s a fun and enjoyable way of becoming more active and healthy.  

The Steps to Health Challenge is a five week walking challenge it started on May 13 and ran until June 16. It encourages and supports staff to walk more. The daily goal is 10,000 steps but any improvement made during the challenge is a personal gain. The aim is to get you walking and counting your steps daily. 

Most of us walk between 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day. The challenge is to take up the extra steps so that you reach the goal of 10,000, which is the recommended number of steps for health benefits. 
It might take longer for those who are inactive but you can break up the steps into ten minute walks at a time and still get the health benefits.  

Many staff groups across Community Healthcare area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan & Sligo) took up the Steps to Health Challenge.  One of these was the catering department at St John's Community Hospital Sligo who decided to take on the  challenge not only from a health point of view but for social reasons too, to increase staff moral and use it as a team building exercise. The group consisted of 25 staff and they promoted healthy activity with walking routes mapped around St John's and even organised a walking evening in Strandhill. Their weekly step count was 2,720,302 which averaged out to an 108,812 between the 25 team members. 

On the first week of the Steps to Health Challenge they took the 5/6km route, around Strandhill as the terrain was mostly flat which was suitable for all involved while admiring the beautiful views of the Atlantic and the surrounding woodlands. It was a great motivation to staff for the following weeks, as the new walking map located in the foyer of St John's also  encouraged all staff to be more pro activate during their lunch hour. 

Niamh Gallagher the Senior Chef at St Johns and Steps to Health Challenge Coordinator stated "The 2019 Steps to Health Challenge was a great inspiration for all staff members involved, I thoroughly enjoyed coordinating the team, while the majority of the team were from the catering department, we welcomed others to join our group. This event allowed staff to openly discuss their challenges upping their step count every week. It created a common goal for all to experience while benefitting from and increased sense of health and wellbeing. All staff were so supportive of each other, which established an exceptional working environment. It's amazing how something so simple could be so beneficial". 

Other,members of the Catering Department commented as follows Patricia Melody (our star motivator) "I am a very active runner and joined the Steps to Health Challenge for personal wellbeing and encourage my co-workers in becoming more active".Cynthia Bright "Put a pep in my step".  Tommy Rooney "To keep up my fitness level"  Bridget O'Hara "Mind, Body & Soul". 

Steps to Health is for everyone, regardless of your fitness or ability levels. Aim to increase your step count on a daily basis. Remember, every step counts! 


For further information please on Steps to Health Challenge see www.hse.ie/stepschallenge