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500 workers plan to symbolically “walk across Canada”

SIMCOE, ON, APRIL 15, 2010 – Close to 500 people working at 26 local workplaces are currently participating in the Haldimand and Norfolk Walk Across Canada Step Challenge to promote exercise through walking.

When it’s all said and done, the workers hope to have collectively walked 9,060,000 steps within their workplaces, which is equivalent to walking the 7,248 kilometres from Vancouver to St. John’s.

“A step challenge is a great way to motivate and engage employees to get active, and the beginning of spring is the perfect time to get moving,” said Julia Hartley, Workplace Health Promoter with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, which is sponsoring the challenge.

The challenge started April 12 and runs until April 23. While each workplace competes against one another, the ultimate goal is to “walk across Canada” as a community by combining all steps at participating workplaces. The step count is tracked daily on the Health Unit’s website, which readers can view at www.hnhu.org. Just click on the “for workplaces” button near the top left of the screen.

The Health Unit provides participants with pedometers, tracking sheets, and trail maps of Haldimand and Norfolk, along with daily tips on how to increase steps taken in the workplace.

“Health Canada recommends Canadians take 10,000 steps a day and a pedometer challenge is a great way to track and achieve that goal,” Hartley noted. “Walking has many health benefits, such as helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight, boost energy, reduce stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, plus it’s a great way to get out with a friend.”

The challenges aim is to increase the number of steps employees take within their workplaces and to encourage small changes that increase physical activity at work.

The Health Unit supports workplaces on many levels and is committed to helping local companies move towards a healthier workplace. The Workplace Health program is directed at individuals who influence employee health and wellness and provides information and services for free to companies.

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Media contact:
Julia Hartley
Workplace Health Promoter
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3236 at either 519-426-6170 or 519-318-6623