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National Walking Month 2017

National Walking Month 2017

Most people in Northern Ireland do not take enough exercise to prevent ill-health. Inactivity is described by the Department Of Health as a ‘silent killer’. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behavior, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health, and is thought to increase the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.

Walking can do wonders for our wellbeing. It’s good for our bodies, our minds and- because it gives us the chance to get out and meet new people-it can be great for our social lives too.


To help get people active, we are promoting the Step Challenge across Northern Ireland which is aimed at encouraging people to increase the numbers of steps they take each day. Ideally, we would like people to aim for 10,000 steps a day. However, this may seem daunting for some, so it is important to set a target which is realistic and achievable.


We know that people are more likely to stay motivated if they take part as a group. This be with friends or family, work colleagues or through a local community organisaiton.


Step Challenge toolkit (leaders’ guide, poster, certificate etc)

As part of a Choose to Live Better campaign to encourage people to be more active, this toolkit provides resources for group leaders to organise a Step Challenge. One aspect of the campaign encourages people to monitor the number of steps they take each day and aim to increase it as an easy way of getting more active. A Step Challenge helps people achieve this through working together in a group to support and motivate one another. Groups might be run by a local community or voluntary organisation, in the workplace, or simply among friends and family.

A leaders’ guide and additional materials are provided to support groups leaders in recruiting and encouraging their members to participate.

  • The leaders’ guide outlines the process of running a challenge with a group.
  • The poster can be used to recruit participants to a challenge (you can type your contact details into the box marked “For more information”).
  • There are five social media graphics: one for leaders to use to recruit participants, and four for participants to use when sharing their progress.
  • The step chart allows individuals to record their progress during a challenge (a group chart is also included in the leaders’ guide).
  • The certificate can be awarded to those who complete the challenge and allows them to record their intentions for maintaining/increasing their activity in the future.


The toolkit is intended to be used alongside the booklet Take the next step.

For more information or to register your group on a step challenge visit: