Exploring the impact of the Step Count Challenge 2020 on participants in relation to the Covid-19 lockdown and government policy of social distancing.
Other authors (as you wish them to appear on final abstract): Paul Kelly, Carl Greenwood
Abstract: This study contributes to the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework as it highlights the mental health and well-being benefits of participation in a workplace walking intervention in Scotland. This is valuable as it demonstrates that participating in a physical activity intervention can support mental well-being and positively contribute to workplace health.
Background: Improving the mental health and well-being of the public in Scotland has been deemed a national priority. Alarming levels of physical inactivity have also been recognised as a public health concern. Physical activity interventions are evidenced to be one way to address well-being and activity level. During Covid-19 lockdown, it has been important for individuals to look after their own mental health and well-being.
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of a workplace walking intervention (Step Count Challenge) on mental well-being and social connectedness during Covid-19 lockdown.
Method: A mixed method evaluation of a workplace walking intervention (Step Count Challenge) delivered by Paths for All was conducted. 272 participants completed a pre online questionnaire and 485 participants completed a post online questionnaire. An independent samples t-test was conducted to compare the mean differences in baseline and follow-up scores. Online semi-structured interviews provided qualitative data from 12 participants. Each interview transcript was thematically analysed.
Results: Participation in a workplace walking intervention improved mental well-being in terms of satisfaction showing there was a 10% increase (p=.000), for feeling that life was worthwhile there was a 6% increase (p=.000) and for happiness there was a 6% increase (p=.004). No significant changes in anxiety were observed (p=.361). Qualitative data suggested that improvements in mental well-being could be explained by walking outdoors, social interaction with colleagues and experiencing a sense of mindfulness and appreciation of life.
Conclusion: This study highlighted that participation in a workplace PA walking intervention (SCC) significantly improved mental health and well-being during Covid-19 lockdown conditions. It also demonstrated the SCC helped participants to feel more socially connected with colleagues, which for some subsequently improved mental health and well-being. These findings suggest the potential for workplace walking interventions to help improve public health in Scotland.