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Find out about our health promotion campaigns for York St John University and the local community.

Student walking across campus

Walk for Wellness

YSJActive are challenging you and your team to Walk for Wellness!

During lockdown it can be easy to lose motivation, feel a bit stuck and not leave the house, which can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. So, we are challenging you to to get those daily steps in... Whatever the weather, whatever the method!

The challenge will run for 2 weeks starting on Monday 22 Feb until Sunday 7 March at midnight.

Teams must consist of 4 (or less) York St John University staff members, and each team will nominate a team captain to submit the members weekly totals to the email below. Your team could earn a bonus of up to 1000 steps a week if you submit photo evidence from each team member each week, and the team who submits the most steps at the end of the 2 weeks wins the YSJActive prize.

For more information about the competition and the winning prize download our information sheet: Walk for Wellness (PDF, 0.3 MB)

To register your team members email before midnight on 19 February.

Ditch Your Desk

Do you often find yourself eating lunch at your desk? Or sitting for long periods of time without a break? If your answer is yes, then it might be time to Ditch Your Desk.

Ditch Your Desk is all about taking a break from your desk to move more and explore everyday, whether that’s campus, the city of York, your garden or your local area.

Spending time outdoors, especially in nature, has a range of health benefits such as:

  • Increasing vitamin D levels,
  • Increasing endorphin levels (which can help reduce stress and pain)
  • Improving memory
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Improving mental health.

Doing some physical activity while outdoors, like walking, will have additional benefits such as:

  • Supporting weight management
  • Improving fitness levels
  • Improving cardiac health
  • Reducing the risk of developing non-communicable diseases
  • Improving mental health.

Activities such as forest bathing have a range of benefits and can be a great way to enjoy nature. Or you could even do some do some outdoor volunteer work through organisations like York Cares. Or if you’re at home, gardening is a great way of combining being outside with exercise.

Walking routes

If you fancy a walk we have collected some helpful resources for ideas and routes in the city and beyond. Please make sure you follow current government COVID-19 guidelines.

Exploring York maps

Download the maps below to help you explore York. 

Cycling routes

If you fancy cycling instead the links below contain information on routes and cycle paths around the city.

Bad weather might not always make going outdoors appealing. However a good waterproof jacket and some boots can make a massive difference. Also picking somewhere like a wood or forest can provide some shelter from the elements.

If you cannot go outside, then sitting by an open window and taking a minute to focus on your breathing, nature, the fresh air or even the rain can have a positive impact.

A big thank you to Guy Wallbanks from City of York Council and Indie York for their help.

Pledge for 30

With national lockdown restrictions in place, would you benefit from making some healthy changes to your life, like drinking more water or doing more physical activity?

YSJActive is launching a 30 day challenge that could really help you do something positive for your physical wellbeing. ‘Pledge for 30’ is all about supporting you to commit to a small, healthy behaviour change for 30 days, with the hope that after the 30 days is up, your good habits will become a normal part of everyday life.

Research shows that making a written commitment to a behaviour change, such as a pledge, can increase your chance of succeeding. So, YSJActive has put together a pledge pack which includes a pledge declaration, a pledge calendar, and some advice about how to pick your pledge and how to maximise your chances of success.

If you’re not sure what to pick for your pledge, we also have some pledge ideas to get you started. YSJActive are on hand to offer support and answer questions about the pledge process or healthy behaviour changes. Get in touch with us at

To Pledge for 30, we suggest you follow these 4 steps to get started:

  1. Read Why make a pledge? (PDF, 0.1 MB) and Pledge Tips (PDF, 0.1 MB) (we promise they’re not very long!)
  2. Download the Pledge declaration (PDF, 79.8 kB) and Pledge calendar (PDF, 49 kB).
  3. Pick your pledge and complete the Pledge Declaration. Make sure you put your completed Pledge Declaration somewhere you will see it everyday
  4. Carry out your pledge every day and tick off the Pledge Calendar, then take a minute to feel proud of your achievement

We would love to hear about your pledges on social media, please tag @ysjactive on Facebook and Instagram, and use #ysjpledgefor30

We hope you find Pledge for 30 helpful, if you have any feedback or would like more pledge ideas please get in touch

Pledge ideas

5x5 a day

5x5 a day aims to help you integrate some additional physical activity in to your day in manageable blocks of 5 repetitions, 5 times a day. For example, while you’re brushing your teeth you could do 5 body weight squats, another 5 when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, another 5 while making lunch, 5 in the afternoon and the last 5 when you brush your teeth again.

We have created a weekly list of 5x5 a day exercises, a weekly checklist so you can tick off each time you complete a set of 5 and information on each exercise. If you experience any difficulties completing the listed exercise and would like to speak to us about it please contact or feel free to pick a different exercise.

Please visit our social media pages for more information and to let us know how you're doing with your 5x5 a day.

Please ensure you pick a safe space to complete these exercises and that you're able to participate in physical activity. If you have any medical concerns, or are new to physical activity please seek advice from a medical professional before starting.

Downloadable resources

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