19 June 2014

Twenty six members of the Hertfordshire Constabulary have signed up to the University of Hertfordshire fitness scheme ‘nudge’ to become healthier, fitter and in turn, happier.

Recent changes to fitness testing in the police force have encouraged the Constabulary to commit to becoming stronger and fitter. Armed with a 'Fitbit Zip', which encourages regular exercise and a 'health MOT' to detect areas of improvement, the three month health initiative is now underway and will conclude this August.

Working in partnership

Rhian Crawford, sports project officer at the University says: "By working in partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary, to create a healthier police force, we hope to see a positive impact on activity and stress levels and improvements in morale. We anticipate participants will see substantial improvements in BMI, heart and lung efficiency, flexibility and strength."

Temporary deputy chief constable Alison Roome-Gifford, adds "We are pleased to be joining the University of Hertfordshire's nudge project. The Constabulary has high fitness levels already and I'm confident this project will further boost officer and staff fitness and improve general health. We look forward to seeing the results."

Health and fitness assessment 

At the beginning of the voluntary project staff completed a comprehensive health and fitness assessment with one of the University's fitness instructors. Tests included; blood pressure, lung function, flexibility, Body Mass Index (BMI), body composition (body, fat, water, lean muscle %) and cholesterol levels. Their results have been evidenced and tests will be repeated at the end of the three months to assess improvement levels.

Fitbit Zip

The participants have been given a 'Fitbit Zip', which is a small device that clips to your shoes, hip or bra, used to track daily physical activity like numbers of steps, calories, time and distance. The data it collects is wirelessly downloaded to a personal online account and used to create their team leader board.

This initiative follows the success of the local bus drivers' health project in 2011, where they witnessed 63% of drivers reducing their blood pressure and 47% experienced a reduced waist to hip ratio.