Workers on Peterlee Business Park are being urged to slip into some sneakers for the Midday Mile challenge later this month.
Employees from businesses on and around the park are being invited to take part in the lunch-time fitness challenge as part of Workplace Health Week, running from May 23 to 27.
The Midday Mile will take place at 12pm on Thursday, May 26, and will see staff of all ages meeting on the grassed area in the car park of Novus Business Centre before walking a mile around Peterlee Business Park.
The event is taking place to encourage people to reap the benefits of doing more exercise which includes improved mental and physical health, reduced sick days, and increased energy levels.
Organiser Suziee Cassels, of County Durham Sport, said: “Most adults spend on average 60 per cent of their time sitting in the workplace so it is important that workplaces are somewhere that helps healthy lifestyles.
“Being physically active has been described as a wonder drug by medical officers and is one of the most important things people of all ages, sizes, and shapes can do to improve their mental and physical health.”
She added: “It’s really important that workplaces and employers get involved because it takes simple things like the Midday Mile to raise awareness and kick-start someone’s healthier regime.
“The health benefits are enormous and it would be great to see people fitting activity like this into their working day.”
National statistics suggest that businesses across England could save an estimated £2.8b on illness and sick days by encouraging and enabling physical activity as part of the working day.
This is because on average 5.31 sick days are taken per person per year costing businesses a total of £14.9 billion in lost working days.
Encouraging physical activity and healthy lifestyles also provides businesses with a positive image which could in turn increase levels of staff retention and make them a more attractive place to work.
Research has shown that time is the biggest barrier to taking part in sport and physical activity in the workplace, with many of us choosing to work through lunch breaks.
The World Health Organisation has also cited that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of deaths globally, with one in four adults not physically active enough.
Suziee, alongside Joanne Urquhart-Arnold, from Business Durham, is also hoping to organize a Workplace Challenge over the coming weeks.
County Durham Sports Workplace Challenge Programmes work to tackle sedentary working cultures delivering services to suit the needs of employees by facilitating physical activity in the working day.
In this case, companies will be able to go head to head in the pedometer contest to see which teams take the most steps each day.