People living in Northamptonshire are being challenged to walk 20 million steps during a weekend in September.
Northamptonshire is the fifth fattest county and Northamptonshire County Council is determined to tackle this issue by encouraging people to go out for a walk.
By increasing the amount of physical exercise and activity that is undertaken, people in the county can have an increased sense of wellbeing, more self-confidence and even a better life expectancy.
To kick off this work, the council is challenging everyone who lives or works in the county to go for a walk during the weekend of September 5-7.
Families, couples, individuals, community groups, businesses, societies and clubs – everyone is being asked to complete and walk and then log the number of miles they walked and how many people have completed that distance.
The council will be counting these steps until the county as a whole reaches the target of 20 Million Steps.
Cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Councillor Robin Brown said: “Northamptonshire is a wonderful place with a lot to offer, but it’s time we faced up to the reality that we’re the fifth fattest county in the country.
“One in ten of our children is obese when they start school.
“Plus 80 per cent of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, not to mention 33 per cent of cancers, could be prevented by people following a more healthy lifestyle.
“These are shocking statistics and we want to do something about them.
“We believe that together the county can achieve 20 Million Steps in a weekend. To reach this target would be a real achievement and something everyone can be proud of. It would be the start of something great, as we all start getting more active and more healthy.
“After all, why should we settle for being the fifth fattest county when we could be one of the fittest?”
People can go for a walk wherever they prefer, whether it’s in a town centre, through a village, or perhaps at a country park. Walking distances can then be logged in three ways:
* Using the MapMyWalk app on their smartphone
* Submitting a form available at the council’s country parks
* Using one of the 20 Million Steps treadmills based in selected town centres
Councillor Brown said: “The great thing about walking is that it’s free, it doesn’t need any special equipment and you can do it anywhere.
“That means it’s easy for everyone to take part in this exciting challenge. Whether you manage just a short distance, or go for a five mile hike, it will all count and you can have some fun at the same time.”
Further announcements will be made about 20 Million Steps in the coming months.
In the meantime, to find out more about 20 Million Steps and how to take part people can visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/20millionsteps