A mass participation walking and cycling competition has been taking the UK — and beyond — by storm with 175,198 people having walked 1.5 million miles in 21 areas this year.
Beat the Street is a simple competition that turns a town or area into a real life game. Players walk, run or cycle around the area recording their journeys with RFID technology. Players collectively travel towards a fun target and view their performance via a website. Teams and individuals all compete together and the community aspect of the programme has proved a huge incentive.
The ultimate target, of course, is to encourage more people to achieve the government’s recommended physical activity target of 150 minutes a week and support people to become more active.
Areas that have taken part this year range from East London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Hampshire, to Scotland, Poland, Italy and Greece!
Organisers have received a wealth of feedback from participants and some key statistics from 2015 are:
On average 14% of the population have played with up to 39% in some towns.
Nine out of ten said Beat the Street helped them to be more active (87%)
8 out of 10 people sampled said that Beat the Street had helped them to walk more and a third said it encouraged them to cycle more.
Half said they used the car less (48%)
Projects last year led to an 18% increase in people meeting the government guidelines for physical activity on 5 or more days per week.
94% said they would recommend Beat the Street to their friends and family.
One third said Beat the Street encouraged them to cycle more than usual (36%)
Before Beat the Street, people reported walking for 15 minutes or more an average of 4 days per week. After Beat the Street, the average was 5 days per week. This is a significant change.
Before Beat the Street, more than one quarter of people said they walked between 0-2 days per week (28%). After Beat the Street this had reduced to 18%.
Before Beat the Street, about half of people said they walked on five or more days per week (55%). After Beat the Street this had increased to six out of ten people (63%.)
Before Beat the Street, people reported cycling for 15 minutes or more an average of 1 day per week. After Beat the Street, the average was 1.5 days per week.
Before Beat the Street, people reported being active for 30 minutes or more an average of four days per week. After Beat the Street, the average remained at four days per week. In some areas the average increased to 5 days per week.
In addition to the health benefits, people reported that the competition was fun!
85% of people who provided feedback at the end of Beat the Street said they got something out of it or made changes as a result of taking part.
The main things people said they got out of Beat the Street were:
having fun (59%)
exploring the local area (58%)
getting fit (57%)
feeling more healthy (56%)
spending time with friends and family (56%)
feeling part of the community (47%)
Nine out of ten said that Beat the Street helped them be more active (87%)
Eight out of ten said Beat the Street helped them feel healthier (81%)
Seven out of ten said Beat the Street helped them go to different places (72%)
Seven out of ten said Beat the Street helped them feel more involved in the community (69%).
Intelligent Health founder and CEO Dr William Bird, added: “Beat the Street has created a real buzz in the towns and cities where we have been privileged to take the game. Many people and communities are now committed to making physical activity an integral part of their lives. The critical detail is that the community come together and own the programme. They support each other, chat at the Beat Boxes feel part of something. Movement is vital for our health and wellbeing both physically and mentally and our programmes address this.
“Modern life is full of stress which builds barriers to people moving, communicating and causes other poor health behaviours. The Beat the Street impact has been far-reaching with many people saying the competition was literally life-changing. We’ve had feedback from people who decided to sell their car for good, from people who have been able to reduce or completely stop medication for pre-diabetes, and families who have said that they’ve stopped watching so much television and are spending more time outside, really talking to each other, as a family.
“We have lots of exciting plans for Beat the Street and will be running the competition in a range of locations all over the UK and beyond in 2016.”