We may have been locked down but it is amazing what you can achieve within your 5K limit.

Between January 13th and March 3rd, 28,000 GAA members walked a combined total of 6 million kilometres as part of the ‘Every Step Counts’ challenge hosted on Irish Life’s MyLife App.

That is the equivalent of walking the circumference of the earth 15 times; a combined step count of 7.5 billion.

The aim of the challenge was to offer GAA members a fun incentive to stay active within their 5km radius. On average, each participant walked just over 200km.

“It is very gratifying to see that the participants in this MyLife by Irish Life Healthy Club Steps Challenge walked an average of 268,000 steps and had an 11-point increase in their health score in the only, eight weeks,” said Professor Niall Moyna of DCU.

Implications

“The public health implications of these results cannot be underestimated and demonstrate the value of promoting walking across the lifespan.”

This was the second such steps challenge delivered during the pandemic through the GAA’s award-winning Healthy Club Project.

The first challenge in June 2020 attracted 12,000 participants from over 400 clubs, with the MyLife App once again tracking all 2.2 billion steps taken.

“The amount of physical activity required to produce substantial health benefits is quite small. Walking is a highly accessible activity. It requires no special skills or facilities, can be easily accommodated into an existing lifestyle, can be undertaken at almost any age with little risk of injury and has been shown to positively impact physical, psychological and cognitive function,” added Moyna.

A club target of 4,000km was set for the ‘Every Step Counts’ challenge – the equivalent of a circuit of the coast of Ireland. All clubs that achieved this goal were entered into randomised draws in their province for gear vouchers worth €2,500, €1,500, and €1,000, generously provided by Irish Life as part of their on-going CSR partnership of the Healthy Club Project.

Meaningful

“The steps challenge provided our clubs with a meaningful and safe way to express their community identity while keeping people connected during this difficult period of lockdown.,” said GAA President Larry McCarthy.

“As the incredible figures demonstrate, it also helped motivate thousands of participants to achieve their recommended weekly physical activity levels within their 5km limit.”

“I’d like to thank Irish Life for their continued, innovative, support of the GAA Healthy Club Project and look forward to more clubs getting involved in this great project in the future.”

“Health and Wellbeing continue to become increasingly important with immediate and long terms health benefits directly linked to physical health and exercise,” said  Head of Wellness at Irish Life Stacey Machesney.

“Through our own research carried out we know approximately 90% of us are looking to improve our health with lack of motivation being the biggest challenge to achieving this. The insights coming from MyLife are showing us, the more opportunities we get to exercise in a social and connected way, the greater success we have in staying motivated to be physically active.”

 


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