Challenge is being accepted by staff

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Workers in the area have embraced the Workplace Challenge, a national programme to encourage employees to get more active - with more people signing up to the scheme in Derbyshire than in almost any other part of the country.

More than 1,000 people and 180 workplaces in the county have so far signed up to the Workplace Challenge, with only Norfolk and Lincolnshire seeing more people taking part.

The programme is being rolled out nationally by the County Sports Partnership Network (CSP Network), in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation Health at Work programme, to encourage workers to lead more active lifestyles.

With enthusiasm for the Derbyshire Workplace Challenge high, workers have so far logged more than 22,000 activities over more than 18,000 hours.

The University of Derby is also leading the way nationally within the education sector in terms of staff signed up to the Workplace Challenge with more than 200 employees taking part so far – second only to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Anyone can sign up to the Derbyshire Workplace Challenge for free at www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/derbyshire and can earn points by logging details of any sport or physical activity which they take part in. Each time an activity such as walking, cycling or swimming is logged via the Workplace Challenge website points are earned.

The first eight-week challenge began on January 6 and runs until March 2 and aims to help participants stay motivated and become more active and stay active.

There are now under two weeks to go, and the workplace with the highest number of points will be crowned the winner. A number of spot prizes are also on offer.

Angela Kirkham, active lifestyles development officer at Derbyshire Sport, said: “The Workplace Challenge has really captured the imagination of workplaces across Derbyshire to be more active.

“Participants don’t have to be sporty and fit to join in, any activity can be logged. This could include walking or cycling to work, going for a lunchtime swim or gym class, or going for a jog or playing football after work. Anecdotally we know that the Derbyshire Workplace Challenge has been helping to motivate people to do more physical activity than they would normally do.”

Currently only 25.7 per cent of people in Derbyshire take part in 3x30 minutes of regular physical activity per week, and the Derbyshire Workplace Challenge is part of the Active Derbyshire campaign for more people to achieve this, as a minimum, in 2014.