Marching ahead in health challenge

Jeanette Willis (left) and Toni Little step out during Walk To Work Week.

Jeanette Willis (left) and Toni Little step out during Walk To Work Week.

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COUNCIL staff stepped up to the mark after an outstanding performance in a health-boosting challenge set by their bosses.

Hartlepool Borough Council workers Jeanette Willis and Toni Little set the pace after swapping their usual method of transport for travelling all or part of the way to work on foot.

The local authority urged people to join in National Walk To Work Week and Jeanette and Toni astounded council chiefs by clocking up a staggering 33 miles over the course of the week.

Jeanette, the council’s head of finance, walked a total of 20 miles between her Hartlepool home and the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.

The 45-year-old said: “I definitely enjoyed the challenge and I’ll certainly be building more walking into my daily programme and my leisure time from now on.”

Toni, 24, a support assistant in the chief executive’s department, lives in Billingham and clocked up 13 miles by leaving the bus on the outskirts of Hartlepool and walking into town.

She said: “I already enjoy going out walking so taking part in Walk To Work Week was a natural extension of that.

“I’m going to walk into work all the time now.”

By walking briskly for just 30 minutes a day during the working week, people can meet the recommended level of daily activity to transform their health.

As well as the known health benefits, regular exercise such as walking is known to boost performance at work and counter lethargy, stress and depression.

Jeanette and Toni were presented with goody bags by Steven Carter, the council’s workplace health improvement specialist, and Daniel Garthwaite, the council’s assistant recreation development officer.

The goody bags included a water bottle, swimming vouchers and passes for the council’s Women’s Begin To programme of sports and other fitness activities.

Mr Garthwaite said: “Well done to everyone who took part in Walk To Work Week and special congratulations to Jeanette and Toni for doing particularly well.

“Being active doesn’t have to mean costly gym sessions or marathon running. There is a free and easy way to build more exercise into your daily routine. Give yourself a daily dose of walking.”