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Let’s take a billion steps to emerge healthier in recovery

Published:14 May 2020

TOP: Former Australian Cricket Captain Jodie Fields and CQUniversity researcher and 10,000 Steps program leader Professor Corneel Vandelanotte. BELOW: Promotions for the Billion Steps Challenge.

CQUniversity's 10,000 Steps program, led by Professor Corneel Vandelanotte, and Health and Wellbeing Queensland have joined forces encouraging Queenslanders to take on 'The Billion Steps Challenge' to boost physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative has strong support from Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and was officially launched in Brisbane on 2 May by Queensland Minister for Health Steven Miles and Queensland Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick de Brenni.

Thanks to the support of prominent community leaders, the challenge is off to a flying start and already has achieved over 270 million steps in as little as 11 days.

“We are proud that CQUniversity has been funded by the Queensland Government to deliver the free 10,000 Steps program for nearly 20 years, and I’m keen to help promote the latest challenge for the good of all Queenslanders,” Professor Vandelanotte said.

Others supporting the Billion Steps Challenge include former Australian Cricket Captain Jodie Fields and Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) Chief Executive Robyn Littlewood.

Fields, the first Queenslander to captain the Australian Women’s Cricket team, has stepped up as an Ambassador
for The Billion Steps Challenge – part of the Boost your Healthy initiative led by Queensland’s new health
promotion agency HWQld.

Some of Queensland’s favourite community programs are partnering with HWQld to roll out a series of Boost your
Healthy challenges over the coming weeks, and the first is the Billion Steps Challenge in partnership with the
10,000 Steps program.

Fields said staying physically and mentally healthy during this time was important for all Queenslanders, including
for her sporting peers who currently had competitions on hold.

“The opportunity to show Queenslanders that there are still some great ways to stay active right now, even simply challenging yourself to a walk, is why I’ve put my hand up to be an ambassador for The Billion Steps Challenge. Now more than ever we need to keep moving so, whether you’re walking or wheeling, join me and let’s boost to a billion steps together.”

Professor Littlewood said she challenged Fields, and all Queenslanders, to a race to the billion.

“Queenslanders have already taken more than 270 million steps towards The Billion Steps Challenge since we
launched on Saturday 2 May. So far residents from across 300 postcodes are logging their steps
and we would love to see this grow and reach every region within our State,” Professor Littlewood said.

“This is an incredible effort by Queenslanders and a demonstration of what we can achieve by starting with a step.”

Professor Vandelanotte added that regular physical activity was important now more than ever.

“There is overwhelming evidence that regular physical activity improves mood, happiness, and quality of life, as well as reducing feelings of anxiety, stress, negativity and depression.

“A step is a very simple and effective unit of activity. Steps make it easy to set goals and see if you have met them.
And best of all: there is overwhelming evidence for the health benefits of taking more steps.”

Professor Vandelanotte said social support was an important part of being active, and while this was being
challenged by the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is still possible to be physically active within
social contexts through web-based and app-based programs that can connect people online.

“The perfect example would be how our Queensland 10,000 Steps participants are coming together as one team to
work towards a common goal in The Billion Steps Challenge,” he said.

For details on The Billion Steps Challenge and to see what other challenges are coming up visit:
www.hw.qld.gov.au/boostyourhealthy . Learn about the 10,000 Steps program and sign up: https://www.10000steps.org.au .