With summer just around the corner, staff from Perth Eye Hospital have had an extra spring in their step recording more than 12,000,000 steps – the equivalent of about 9144 km – during a month-long Pedometer Challenge.
Organised to coincide with Safe Work October and Mental Health Week in mid-October, the Pedometer Challenge saw 36 staff – organised into nine teams of four – compete for weekly prizes while learning how small changes can improve their everyday fitness.
Perth Eye Hospital OSH Coordinator, Jane Best, said it was well documented that although physical activity improved fitness, it also positively affected a person’s mental wellbeing.
“When you consider that many of us spend a third of our life at work, it is essential that employers recognise that physical wellbeing and good mental health are equally important in fostering a productive and positive work environment,” she said.
“We know how important it is for of our employees to obtain a sense of work–life balance and are committed to providing support and resources to help them achieve this through a dedicated Health and Wellbeing Program.”
Mrs Best said she noticed a palpable positive vibe around the workplace during the challenge, which took place from 23 October to 17 November, resulting in a boost to employee morale, engagement and cohesiveness.
“Teams were randomly allocated which provided the opportunity for employees to get to know colleagues that they may not normally interact with,” she said.
“Many team members increased their step count each week and pleasingly, are taking the opportunity to be more active in their personal life.”
Perth Eye Hospital offered each participant a pedometer and about a quarter of participants used their phone or a Fitbit to track their steps. Spurred on by their motivation to make a change, five participants even purchased Fitbits.
Staff were encouraged to add to their goal of 10,000 steps a day by incorporating activities such as two minutes of planking and 20 sit-ups, Mrs Best added.
Ophthalmic Nurse, Sylvia Dermer, said she took up the challenge as she saw it as an opportunity to improve her overall fitness, reboot her exercise regime and bond with fellow staff.
“The challenge helped me feel better about myself and helped me become more active,” she said.
“I have found it to be a good way to kick-start a fitness program and doing it as a team sport, with the all-round competitive aspect, has been good fun!”
L-R: Clinical Nurse Consultant/OSH Coordinator Jane Best, Corporate Services Team Member Rowan Giles, Patient Admin Team Member Gonda Gould and Registered Nurse Sylvia Dermer are all feeling great after participating in the Pedometer Challenge.