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Your impact on our research into the Step Count Challenge

By taking part in our research project, you're helping us to understand the impact of taking part in the Step Count Challenge. Sam, a PhD student from the University of St Andrews who has been leading on the research, explains how the tasks that you've completed will help to increase our understanding.

Published: 29/11/2021

Firstly, we wanted to thank every single one of you who has participated in our research over the past two Step Count Challenges! Without the help of people like yourselves, research wouldn’t be possible and knowledge couldn’t progress – so thanks for your help!

As you probably know by now, during both the Spring and Autumn 2021 challenges we’ve been trying to gain a greater understanding of exactly how participation and engagement in the Step Count Challenge impacts people. We’ve so far focussed on the physical fitness and mental wellbeing effects, measuring these through a series of short (and hopefully easy!) tasks at numerous intervals throughout. To give you some further insight, the physical fitness test we used (the Two-Minute Step Test) is designed to provide an indication of the cardiovascular and muscular endurance of an individual. This is why we asked you to do this multiple times, so that we could see whether this element of your health had changed. In addition to the physical fitness test, we also asked you to complete the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Scale (Short version) on numerous occasions. It’s no secret that exercise is frequently linked to improved mental health and wellbeing, and so we wanted to test this within the context of the Step Count Challenge. By asking you to complete this fortnightly throughout the challenge, we’re then able to see whether not only your mental wellbeing improved from start to finish, but also whether this was a steady, constant increase or whether there were fluctuations.

A further research question for us, even more specific to the Step Count Challenge, is that not only are we interested in the overall changes in physical fitness and mental wellbeing that you experienced, but we want to know how your number of steps has affected this too! That’s why we’re not only looking at the effect of the challenge on your health and wellbeing overall, but whether the number of steps you completed had any influence on this.

If you want to know any more about the research, want to refresh your mind about what data we’ve collected, or have any questions, please read the debrief form here, or get in touch using the email address provided there!

Thank you again! We look forward to sharing all the results with you soon and maybe seeing you in the future for more research. Hope you enjoyed the Step Count Challenge, and are ready to lace up those walking shoes for when it all kicks off again in Spring 2022! In the meantime, remember to try to get outside and get active wherever and whenever you can!