It’s well known that being physically inactive is bad for your health. A study published in The Lancet in 2012 highlighted that inactivity is responsible for 17 per cent of premature deaths in the UK every year and shortens a person’s lifespan by three to five years. Being regularly active has been proven to help to reduce the risk of developing bowel, breast and womb cancer, which is why it’s so important to take time to be active.

In fact, figures from the study suggest that a lack of exercise is causing as many deaths as smoking across the world. Furthermore Public Health England (PHE) has stated that one in two women, and one in three men in the UK are damaging their health because of a lack of physical activity. It’s a situation that is costing the UK an estimated £7.4 billion a year.

Modern working practices mean most of us are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Typically we will sit for the majority of the working day, during our commute, then again as we relax in the evening. More and more of our daily activities involve being in front of a screen, for example, when shopping or banking. With increasing use of social media, even our socialising is done online.

Taking the stairs could help prevent Cancer

Our Cancer Prevention Recommendations indicate that being physically active for 30 minutes each day could reduce the risk of developing cancer. Fitting physical activity around your working day can be hard for many people but to make physical activity at work easier, we are launching a new and exciting challenge event in collaboration with StepJockey. It’s a chance to move more during the working day and work with others to climb the equivalent of eight iconic buildings around the world including the Pyramids, the Shard and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

StepJockey ‘calorie label’ stairs with the approximate amount of calories burnt by using them. More than 5,000 staircases have now been rated and it’s been shown that the presence of signs alone can increase stair use by 20-50 per cent. For example, the Greater London Authority saw stair use rocket more than 500 per cent, with more than 130,000 calories burned (equivalent to more than 60 days food) by staff using the stairs in just 10 days during their Everest Summit stair-climbing challenge recently. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Anything that gets people more active and helps tackle obesity is a good thing in my book. This initiative is a great, great mix of old-fashioned common sense and smart technology to track and incentivise.”

The best part about the challenge? This can all be done from the comfort of your own office and around your existing working day! The challenge uses the latest technology and your smartphone to track your team’s progress climbing stairs as you compete against teams from within your company and around the world. It will also calculate how many calories you’ve burnt over the month-long challenge. Choosing to take the stairs instead of the lift might not seem like a big deal, yet stair climbing is actually classed as vigorous physical activity and burns more calories per minute than jogging!

Join the World Cancer Research Fund Towers Challenge

Towers Challenge

If you feel like you don’t have time for exercise during your day then this challenge is for you. Taking the stairs is a simple and free way to exercise. It’s also one of the few activities that almost everyone can do and which can be integrated into a normal working day.

Simply visit to register your interest and we’ll be in touch with everything for your company to take part. Entry is just £10 per person with minimum sponsorship of £150 per team of 10 and all money raised will go to support our vital cancer prevention research.

P.S Why not try out our handy exercise calorie calculator to find out how much activity you need to do to burn off those calories

Rachel Clark

Health Promotion Manager, World Cancer Research Fund UK