As part of their ongoing programme around physical activity, health and wellbeing, South Wales Police are working with Cardiff Metropolitan University, Rocca. Creative Thinking Limited and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine to deliver a ‘Move More Challenge’ with their workforce. Funded by the College of Policing and supported by Oscar Kilo, South Wales Police workers are taking part in a 100 day Move More Challenge using the brand new Move More app to track their physical activity.

The SWP Move More app integrates with existing mobile wearable technology (e.g., FitBit, Strava) and allows the workforce to compete against itself for ‘Move More Minutes’. In total, 468 employees, across 65 teams have registered for the first trial of the app during the first 10 days of the programme with all actively engaging in moving more. Weekly top movers, most improved movers and top teams of the week earn virtual certificates through the 100 day challenge.

Additional special stage challenges will feature in the overall 100 day challenge. For example, the #SWPMoveMore team will use landmark venues along the route of the Wales Coast Path, a unique coastal walk around the country. The team’s average minutes of activity will be converted to distance travelled and they will compete for around 5 weeks to see how far around the coastal path they can reach from their base in South Wales. Some may make it all the way to Conway, some may get to Aberystwyth – but all will be moving more. As movers pass key landmarks on the path they will receive virtual certificates and a mapping of their progress. The #SWPMoveMore team will then integrate a reverse South Wales Coastal Challenge in a race back to base.

Dr Owen Thomas (Reader: Sport Psychology, Cardiff Metropolitan University) said “The challenges are there to provide some extra features to #SWPMoveMore Challenge, the reverse challenge is great from a motivational perspective – for example, teams that have made it all the way to Caernarfon Castle are racing back to base in South Wales from that point – those who made it to the Chapel of St Non near St David’s in Pembrokeshire start their race back from that point… so everyone stays in the Challenge”.

A key reason for South Wales Police looking to get their workforce moving was derived from an earlier programme of research undertaken by Cardiff Metropolitan University. That research demonstrated workers who met or exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) physical activity guidelines had significantly higher general health, emotional wellbeing, social functioning, energy levels and used less negative coping styles than those who did not meet the WHO guidelines. The research also showed that organisational stress factors adversely impacted the health outcomes of those who did not meet the WHO physical activity guidelines. In comparison, those who were engaging in physical activity at or beyond WHO guidelines were protected against some of the negative effects of work-related stress.

Deputy Chief Constable and force wellbeing lead Richard Lewis said “The #SWPMoveMore challenge is a great interactive way to get our workforce moving more and just talking about physical activity. It has produced a buzz of interest within the force, we have lots of teams signed up. I have signed up myself with the Chief Constable and we’re all looking forward to some friendly competition as the challenge unfolds.”.

Running alongside the App based #SWPMoveMore Challenge, team members have been asked to complete a series of valid health and wellbeing measures at the start and the end of the challenge recording their: general health; psychological wellbeing; life satisfaction and life stress and other psycho-social constructs. The #SWPMoveMore team will also interview a range of movers to gain their perceptions of the Challenge, the app, and the impact of the intervention on their wellbeing.

Dr Thomas said “Evaluating the impact of the #SWPMoveMore intervention is a key stage of the process. From an individual, and organisational perspective it is critical to understand how the intervention was received and the impact it had on the people taking part.”

The Move More Challenge was originally developed as part the Move More programme in Sheffield. Led by NCSEM Sheffield, Move More aims to transform Sheffield into the most active city in the UK and has utilised technology as part of the city-wide programme.

Dr Thomas added, “It is great for Cardiff Metropolitan University to further our ongoing programme of work around physical activity and wellbeing with South Wales Police. They are passionate about improving the wellbeing of their workforce and finding ways to enable their work force to become more physically active. The partnership with colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University, the NCSEM and Rocca. Creative who bring a strong background of expertise with them has helped realise a real collaboratively programme of work”.

Robert Copeland, Director of the NCSEM and Professor of Physical Activity and Health at Sheffield Hallam University said, “It’s really exciting to be partnering with Rocca. Creative Thinking Limited, Cardiff Metropolitan University and South Wales Police to translate the work we’ve done in Sheffield into other areas of the UK to help people move more”.