Katie's Diary

Taking Up the Challenge

3rd June 2015

More and more people at ubu have taken up the challenge to improve their health and fitness and are creating even greater ways to get out and get active. Inspired by the success of their friends across the ubu community, teams of the people we serve and their enablers have been hitting the gym, the streets, and the pool in a push to see who can go further, faster.

It started with a walking challenge

A team from the North West ambitiously set themselves the challenge of completing a virtual walk from home in Blackpool and Wigan to the eternal city of Rome, Italy. The idea was to improve their physical fitness and inspire others to do the same. CalledHome2Rome, the team used pedometers to log their individual steps each day, and fed back the totals to their team leader. This was an excellent way for people to measure their activity and see their progress.

They have now collectively taken their last steps and have finally arrived in Italy’s beautiful capitol. As a team they have managed to walk the 1283 miles in just over 2 months -- that’s over a million steps taken to complete it!

Asked how they accomplished the feat in such a short period of time, teammate Adam Potter said they discovered that by taking some extra steps each day they have been able to achieve something amazing. “We’ve also learned that setting aims and goals is good for our physical and mental health. It demonstrates what we expect of ourselves and that by staying true to ourselves and what we believe in we can get to where we want to be in life".

Inspired to get moving

But why stop there? A team from ubu East Midlands have launched an even longer virtual trip, called End to End and Back Again. Their goal is cover the equivalent distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats and home again, an incredible health and fitness challenge to walk 1778 miles!

The East Midlands Team are finding ways to prepare for their challenge which begins at the beginning of June. They have organised a sponsored walk in Nottingham, rambling group treks in Spalding, gym memberships and swimming sessions to improve their fitness.

Roger is very excited about participating in the experience and has lost over two stone in weight since joining his local gym. He is also keeping to a much healthier diet which of course has helped too. “Taking out a gym membership has motivated me get fitter and prepare for our walking challenge”. Roger walks to the gym rather than go by car and is using a pedometer to calculate how far he is walking. He is enjoying the opportunity to use a variety of sports equipment at the gym including an exercise bike, tread mill and muscle toners.

Charlotte and Paul are also members of the End to End and Back Again team from Spalding. “We are both keen swimmers, and go to our local community pool at least once a week” says Charlotte. Perhaps one of the best ways to keep fit is to do something you really enjoy. This is certainly true for Paul and Charlotte and they have decided to make sure they go swimming at least twice a week from now on. Paul says “Not only is this to get us fitter for our walk, but also we are also planning to complete a Triathlon in August”.

Lapping up the success

In May, a group of the people we serve in Leeds started an exciting new challenge together.

Inspired by the Swim to Slim movement, they are going to attempt to swim the equivalent of the English Channel. That works out at 660 pool lengths! Each week, the dedicated swimmers have been adding up the lengths completed; and, in only a matter of weeks, they have already passed the halfway mark of 355 lengths.

Team members of all abilities and fitness levels have contributed to this record pace: Kieron has swum 25, Joanne swam 10 last week, and Carl an impressive 103 of those lengths.

This initiative is proving to be a good way to engage people in exercise by encouraging them to join gyms to access their local sports centres.

Area Manager Robin Cornock says, “There are a number of excellent facilities in Leeds, but we haven’t always used them as much as we could. Once we have succeeded in achieving our goal we will be having a French themed party to celebrate our arrival in ‘France’!”

“Bon Chance” to everyone taking part, and we look forward to following your progress in the weeks to come.

Little steps can take you a long way 

Taking part in these fitness challenges has been rewarding for everyone involved. It has encouraged people to try new things to improve their fitness with exercise and healthier nutritional choices. Friendships and collaborations have been forged and people we serve and ubu enablers have found goals to help motivate change. Along the way everyone has discovered strengths and interests they might otherwise have missed.

Taking Up the Challenge Taking Up the Challenge

 I decide what matters to me. ubu help and teach me to make my future happen 

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