Best foot forward for Reading as Beat the Street returns!

The much-anticipated walking competition is back!

Reading is set to host its third year of the popular Beat the Street competition which will form part of Reading’s Year of Culture 2016.

Beat the Street takes place from Friday, 15th April to Friday, 27th May across Reading plus the villages of Mortimer, Pangbourne and Theale. It has been funded by Reading Borough Council and the two Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS North and West Reading CCG and NHS South Reading CCG.

More than 24,000 people took part last year in the competition which took place from April to May, collectively covering an incredible 306,640 miles.

Beat the Street will once again turn Reading into a real-life game where residents are challenged to join a team and see how far they can walk, cycle or run. Participants will be able to log their journey by tapping cards against sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’. There will be approximately 200 Beat Boxes to be found on lamp-posts across the town.

There will be prizes for the teams that travel the furthest and also those who clock up the highest average points per person. There is also the chance to win weekly ‘lucky tap’ prizes just for taking part. People of all ages can take part and players can win prizes for themselves and their community team.

Beat the Street is designed to inspire people to be physically active, with the intention that they will continue these lifestyle choices beyond the competition.

Following the competition in Reading 2015, a survey showed that eight out of ten people thought that Beat the Street helped them be more active (84%), walk more than usual (78%) and feel healthier (78%).

Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health said: “Beat the Street has been a great success for two years running, being both competitive and fun, and it has been instrumental in increasing the amount of walking that people of all ages reported doing. I’m delighted the initiative is back again by popular demand.

“As a council we’re committed to supporting residents get more active. Combating childhood obesity is also a major priority for us. The council faces very tough times at the moment but helping residents stay healthy and fit means not only a better life for them but also helps to reduce the demand for other services.

“I’m looking forward to this year’s Beat the Street and hope to see even more people taking part for their own wellbeing and to help their chosen community group, school or charity. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes to take part!”

Dr Rupert Woolley, lead GP for the project on behalf of the NHS Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “We’re very excited about launching this fun initiative once again in Reading which will help local people get healthier and more active.

“The health benefits of the programme are clear. Did you know, for example, that walking just half an hour a day, five-days-a-week has major health benefits and can reduce the risk of developing certain illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, dementia, depression and anxiety. Taking exercise also helps improve the health of those who already have these illnesses.”

For more information about Beat the Street, visit reading.beatthestreet.me.

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