Life Leisure has won a top national award for its actilife workplace initiative that has already helped hundreds of people to build more physical activity into their everyday lives.
The charitable trust and not-for-profit social enterprise, which manages sports and leisure facilities in and around Stockport, was presented with the Engaging Inactive People prize at the Sporta Awards 2017 in Sheffield.
It was in recognition of Life Leisure’s campaign to bring its ‘actilife’ technology to office workers who felt ‘too unfit to exercise’.
The three-month actilife programme combined Life Leisure’s innovative online actilife programme that syncs with wearable technology and activity tracker apps, and provided remote coaching and challenges following an initial 30-minute consultation with all participants. Participants were also given free passes for Life Leisure facilities to encourage them to get more active.
Actilife was developed following research by national fitness body UKactive and Greenwich University, which showed the effectiveness of coaching over traditional gym-based exercise programmes for inactive populations.
Life Leisure recruited 405 people to the programme in 15 workplaces from both public and private sector organisations.
Most of them had participated in less than 30 minutes of activity a week when they started. Seventy-five per cent of them stuck with the programme for three months, and 66% of those had stepped up their activity to three sessions of 30 minutes a week.
At the end of the programme, participants were doing a variety of activities, including regular rambling, park runs and 10k races. One was even inspired to become a Zumba instructor.
Actilife has proven so successful that since the project began, two further north west leisure trusts in Wigan and Cheshire East have adopted the initiative as a mechanism for tackling inactivity.
Michelle Childs, Physical Activity & Health Manager at Life Leisure, said: “We are so proud to win this award, which recognises the very real benefits that our Actilife programme has already brought to people in workplaces all over Stockport.
“We are building on this work with a wider Stockport corporate physical activity challenge with the NHS, CCG, Stockport Council and businesses in the area, competing to see who can be the most active in 2017.”
The Sporta Awards’ independent judging panel also praised the project, saying that actilife was “a refreshing contrast to leisure centre-based sports provision, and an excellent example of using technology alongside professional one-to-one support to engage and retain inactive people. It has terrific potential to scale up and for other trusts to adopt”.