Beat the Street – Sudbury and Great Cornard’s innovative walking and cycling scheme – has helped to reduce levels of inactivity and encourage residents to get moving, according to a new report.
Beat the Street turned the streets of Sudbury and Great Cornard into a giant game in the autumn.
From September to November, sensors called Beat Boxes were placed across both areas, with residents challenged to tap as many as possible to earn points and help their chosen school or team win prizes.
The walking and cycling challenge saw more than 4,000 residents travel 52,000 miles over the course of seven weeks.
The initiative was delivered by Intelligent Health on behalf of Suffolk County Council to encourage residents to walk more and increase physical activity.
Participants were surveyed six months later to assess any long-term impact on their physical activity.
At the start of the scheme, eight per cent of players reported doing 30 minutes or less of exercise every week. Six months later, this figure had fallen to two per cent.
The proportion of people who reported walking for 15 minutes for five to seven days a week rose from 67 per cent before Beat the Street to 75 per cent six months later.
The proportion of people meeting government guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week rose from 58 per cent to 66 per cent.
In total, 79 per cent of respondents said they had continued the changes they had made to their activity.
In the report, it is estimated that Beat the Street will lead to savings of £216,423 to local healthcare over the next five years as a result of changes in physical activity.
Abdul Razaq, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said: “These figures are very encouraging.
“The local community enthusiastically embraced Beat the Street during the game phase and, promisingly, it seems to have been the catalyst for many of them to continue to lead a more active lifestyle since.
“This is important because being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life and can significantly reduce your risk of major illness.”