Shake Up September from Workplace Challenge boosts England’s workplace activity levels

Activity levels in England’s workplaces were given a healthy boost this September, thanks to a successful physical activity campaign from Workplace Challenge.

More than 3,380 working people and 294 workplaces took part in Shake Up September, the national campaign designed to encourage working people to get more active by trying out a new sport or activity. Organised by Workplace Challenge in collaboration with 36 County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) across England. The CSPs ensured that there were local opportunities for all to enjoy the national campaign.

The need for more active workplaces is clear. It is medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, yet research shows that around one in two women and a third of all men in England are damaging their health through a lack of physical activity. From an economic perspective, the numbers are stark: figures from Sport England show that physical inactivity costs the UK economy an estimated £7.4bn/year.

The Shake Up September national activity challenge set out to encourage working people to increase their activity levels and to help them achieve the minimum recommended 150 minutes / week by having a go at something new.

The challenge was simple, uncomplicated and attainable. Participants were required to choose from a list of almost 150 different sport and activity options and then to take part as much as they could throughout the month, recording their participation using the Workplace Challenge app on the go via mobile devices, or via desktops using the personalised Workplace Challenge dashboard.

A number of National Governing Bodies of Sport offered free taster sessions exclusively designed for Shake Up September, so that participants could try a new sport with no long term commitment or expense, whilst County Sports Partnerships provided participants with information about local activities and sports opportunities. Activity sessions on offer included workplace canoeing courtesy of British Canoeing,  sailing in Norfolk, netball in Hampshire and Merseyside, trampolining in Birmingham and indoor rowing in the West of England, whilst the Amateur Swimming Association offered Shake Up September participants an extra incentive to make swimming part of their routine – every participant logging 30 minutes of swimming each week was entered into a prize draw to win swimming goodies.

Participants earnt valuable Workplace Challenge activity points in return for activities completed, with prizes being awarded to those individuals and workplaces recording the most number of activity points - the ‘Shake Up September Champions’. Prizes were also awarded to those individuals and workplaces who saved the most CO2 throughout the challenge. Throughout the campaign participants shared stories and images of their experiences on social media using #SeptemberShakeUp.

The message was clear: small steps can contribute towards a healthier, more physically active lifestyle. The results were persuasive.

Shake Up September in numbers

Figures released from Workplace Challenge illustrate the success of #SeptemberShakeUp as, over the course of the month:

  • 1,329 men shook up September
  • 2,051 women shook up September
  • 294 workplaces were involved
  • 59,128 activities were logged
  • 3,570,309 minutes of activity were logged – that’s the equivalent of…..
  • 203,668 miles were travelled – that’s the equivalent of…..
  • 21,763 CO2 was saved
  • There was a 125% uplift in activity (59,128 from 26,273) during the 2015 Shake Up September Challenge compared with the 2014 Team England Challenge.
  • Swimming, yoga and football were amongst the most popular new sports to try (behind walking, cycling and running)

Shake Up September Champions announced

Congratulations to Shake Up September 2015 Champions – Linda Norman from Valerie Manor, our female champion and Marcin Zimney from Thomson Reuters, our male champion.

Congratulations to Ordnance Survey our Shake Up September 2015 Champion Workplace for securing the most total points. Collectively, 56 team members from Ordnance Survey recorded over 588,962 activity points over the thirty-day challenge!  Congratulations also to Thomson Reuters (Nottingham) for the workplace with the most average points per employee.

Participant praise

Workplace Challenge participants explained how their activity levels have increased since joining the challenge.

Bob Donaldson of Elsevier started Workplace Challenge in early 2014 though Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity CSP after needing somewhere to record his daily exercise and track progress as he trained for a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle challenge. “Since starting Workplace Challenge I am now much more active than I used to be and also much more disciplined about recording all of my activity. I try and commute to work every day of the week by bike and try and do something every day at the weekends too.

“I’d definitely recommend Workplace Challenge to others. It’s great to compare your performance with other people around the country and within your own company. I think that you can push the boundaries and improve on your personal performance no matter what age you are.”

Still time to get involved

Workplace Challenge helps workplaces and working people get more active in and around the workplace 365 days/year.

Participants set their own goals and targets to suit their lifestyle and activity preferences, using the ‘set target’ function to track and receive feedback on their performances, whilst the online leaderboards enable people to compare their performance against participants from within their own workplace team or across the country.

Businesses are invited to contact their local County Sport Partnership for help, guidance and support in developing and promoting sport and physical activity in their workplace.

Enjoyment in activity is key

Lee Mason, Chief Executive of the County Sports Partnership Network said: “The figures speak for themselves - Shake Up September was a great success.

“The results show how workplaces, the network of County Sports Partnerships and National Governing Bodies of Sport can work together to promote activity participation, and how encouraging people to take small steps towards a healthier, more active lifestyle can have big results.”

Find out more


Workplace Challenge 

  • Workplace Challenge’s online activity tracking platform is a free online facility available through that enables individuals and workplaces to log all of their physical activity, and easily compare activity levels to other participating individuals and organisations. 
  • Points are calculated according to Metabolic Equivalents (METs) where 1MET is a person's average seated energy expenditure which is equivalent to MET values will be different for different forms of exercise and will increase with the intensity and duration of exercise.
  • Active loggers will be able to see a variety of stats including distance travelled, calories burned, CO2 saved and progress against the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week using a targets bar. It's also possible to set personal targets in 2015 (linked to fundraising if you wish) and create your ‘circles’ to compare your progress against friends and colleagues. All these features and more are available from your dashboard
  • A minimum of three registered employees are required for a workplace to appear in a leader board and people can also track their own individual progress locally and nationally.
  • 36 Local County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) manage the online platform for their community, ensuring that there are challenges, activities and competitions available offline to encourage people to stay active. 
  • Workplace Challenge is supported by Sport England through the Get Healthy Get Active fund.

County Sports Partnership Network

  • The CSP Network represents 45 local County Sports Partnership teams across the country.
  • Collectively, they contribute to the health of the nation by helping local partners, organisations and deliverers to promote the benefits of active lifestyles across local communities.
  • The CSP Network delivered The Community Games – one of the most successful community campaigns seen in the UK, attracting over 2 million members of the public to come together in local communities to take part in active cultural events inspired by London 2012.  

British Heart Foundation Health at Work (HaW)

  • Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. For more information visit

Kate Allum, Citydesk Sport, on behalf of Workplace Challenge and County Sports Partnership Network.

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