Telegraph Column with Dr Ollie Hart: Sheffield’s healthy strength in numbers

Sheffield is the first whole city to move more, together. Sheffield is attempting to do something incredible this summer. It will attempt to record the movement of as many people in the city as possible in July. As a city we are taking another huge step towards proving we are the most active city in the UK, both indoors and outdoors.

Those of you who have read my column before know I am a big supporter of the Move More programme. This is based around an ambitious long-term plan to create the conditions in our city that make it easier to move more. The longer I spend seeing people in ill health, the more convinced I am of the importance of an active lifestyle in maintaining good health.

Moving more gives us more energy, helps us feel better and both treats and prevents most diseases. So the Move More Plan talks about Sheffield becoming the most active city in the UK by 2020.

But how will we know? Well, this summer we’re taking a major step towards this. The two Sheffield universities have teamed up to develop a system to measure, motivate and challenge us with respect to how much we move.

It is based on a smartphone app that works in the same way across all types of android and Apple phones (some older iPhone versions are being finalised).

So the big challenge for us all is how many of us can download the app and keep our phones on us for the month of July? It is no more complicated than that. No need to start and stop, or type anything in, just carry your phone and the app does the rest.

The app will tell us how much we are moving, and allow us to compare ourselves to each other using the same tool. Sheffield Wednesday and United have got on board and are running a challenge to their supporters as to which group moves the most.

Never before has a group attempted to link this data together in a way that tells us all how we are doing as a whole city. The universities will store the data in a secure way, under strict guidance from their ethics committees, and use it to help study what works, and what doesn’t work, in creating a ‘move more’ city.

So if we can get together as a city, and all use the same tool to record what we are doing, we’ll learn a huge amount, and soon be able to take on other towns and cities. Will we prove we are the most active city by 2020? This July has got to give us a great head start. With us being the outdoor capital of the country, and the Steel City, I’ve got every confidence in us.

n Search ‘move more Sheffield’ to download the app from the Google and Apple stores.