And in the blink of an eye it’s February. A generally dreary month,  requiring a proactive approach to wellbeing. But among the cold, gloomy weather there are glimmers of hope. Evenings getting gradually lighter. The occasional day of sunshine offering a taste of early Spring. And most important of all, the annual aip Wellbeing Walkathon.

There are many benefits, both mental and physical, to getting out and taking a stroll. According to Walking for Health, a regular constitutional can reduce your risk of depression by 30% and Alzheimer’s disease by a whopping 40%. It cuts incidence of coronary heart disease by 20% and developing type 2 diabetes by 40%. 

Some people will use it as a way to lose weight, or increase their energy levels. Others see it as the perfect time to listen to their favourite podcast, or a chance to rattle through some phone meetings. It even juices your creativity, according to a 2014 study at Stanford University.

For me, I just do it to burn enough calories to have a guilt-free drink and a cheeky KFC without piling on the pounds. Whatever your personal reason, it’s a no-brainer for everyone working in the agency.

Charity champions

Last year’s inaugural event saw us clock up nearly 7 million steps as we smashed our 5 million target, resulting in a £1,000 donation to the British Heart Foundation. This year we’ve upped the ante. We’ve doubled in headcount so we’re doubling the target.

So this month we’re aiming for a huge 10 million steps between us. A shade under 10,000 steps per person per day, for the entire month. A task made tougher by the prevalence of COVID-19 and many of our Possiblist patrollers regularly having to isolate. Will we make it?

As a performance agency we are of course keeping regular track of our progress. A snazzy dashboard showing progress against target can regularly be seen on aipTV in the office with an admittedly rather crude calculation of steps to miles showing us how far we’ve walked so far. By some reckoning, we’ve already made it as far as Asia after the titanic efforts of this weekend…

We’re not just doing this as a whole, however. The agency has been split into teams with the winners selecting the charity to receive the donation and, most importantly, claiming the office bragging rights.

And boy does it get competitive. Friday’s regular walkathon updates are dominated by accusations of cheating and cycling as teams like the Walkababes, Neverest and Team Rob G (named for reigning Wellbeing Walkathon champ yours truly) battle it out for the crown of top steppers.

The winners get to pick which charity receives half of the winning total. (The other £500 is already allocated to Fumble, our nominated Q1 charity.

As the holder of the highest individual steps during last February, the honour, the privilege, the utter inconvenience of documenting this year’s effort has fallen to me. Punishment for performance it seems.

Despite averaging over 16,000 steps per day I’m lagging behind on this year’s leaderboard. Our one-woman Portuguese pedometer Jo Rodrigues is currently leading the way, having clocked up 100 miles already.

Still, at least I won’t have to write next year’s blog…