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Boosting activity with the Elympics

Elympics wellbeing logo

Here’s what one of our network members has been doing to increase activity levels:

Engage Interactive are a digital agency based in Leeds. They concocted a year-long challenge to try to boost the health and wellbeing of everyone at the agency at the same time as raising money for four local charities.

How did the idea come about?

Engage Director Alex Willcocks says: “Although working in digital is undeniably a fantastic way to spend your week – it’s certainly not the most active, with people regularly spending 6+ hours a day sat at their desks. At the same time there’s a whole load of science documenting the physiological and psychological benefits of an active lifestyle – from improved performance at work through to a better night’s sleep and increased confidence. Plus let’s not forgot those all-important digits on your scales!

“All this got us thinking about how, as a company, we could encourage an increased level of activity in everyone’s lives but in a more creative and rewarding way than simply handing out gym memberships to the keen few.”

The idea is to convert miles into money, with funds going to a number of small, worthy local causes where the donations make a notable and measurable difference.

How does it work?

For every mile that people run, swim, hike, cycle or row, the company donates to the fund at different rates, depending on the activity. All the money raised is then equally distributed between four local charities: CATCH, ToastLoveCoffee, Lineham Farm and Open Country.

All activities are tracked using the Strava app and the stats are used to generate a monthly leaderboard, creating some healthy competition within the team.

How did they do?

In Year 1, from March 2016 to February 2017, they covered 17,880 miles, spent a total of 2,041 hours exercising and raised £7,130 for charity.

People took part in the Leeds Abbey Dash, ran marathons, and started their own cycle club, with a number of ‘Tour De Engage’ rides together all around Yorkshire. Alongside the exercise, there were some bake-offs to replenish the lost calories and raise even more money. They also donated time to the charities by taking the team along throughout the year to help out on a variety of tasks, from tree planting to fence building.

Alex said: “Personally, I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved and have enjoyed watching our gradual transformation from couch potatoes into runner beans! There’s also been a noticeable and positive shift in the team’s attitude to health and exercise, which will hopefully yield some of the more long-term benefits that come from adopting an overall healthier lifestyle.”

So what’s next?

Elympics – Year 2 started at the beginning of March, and will run for another whole year. Engage are trying to smash last year’s target and raise £10,000. You can follow them on Instagram to get a front row seat as the action unfolds!