goFIT Genesis

The University of Southampton goFIT Challenge takes its inspiration from MIT's 12 week annual GetFit Challenge. The premise is the same: move MORE each week, over a 12 week period. Track personal progress over the challenge, and have mutual support to build up that movement/health practice to become a habit.

At Southampton, the goFIT challenge is supported Univesrity wide, with input from a few groups in particular.

GoFIT combines the research know how of ECS, SUSU Sports and Sport and Wellbeing services to create a simple tool to promote mobility. Using a web-based GoFIT Challenge site, teams of 5-8 people can set goals to increase minutes of physical activity each week. There is also lots of useful advice and support on the site.

From Prof. Adam Wheeler, GoFIT participant and Deputy Vice Chancellor:
My own experience is that exercise is vital to lead a good life, and deal with the stresses we all face in our ever increasingly complex world. I make time every day to walk, swim or run as well as eating healthily. For me, time spent moving repays dividends, allowing me to work more effectively and enjoy my whole life better. My experience is supported by studies that show that more active, mobile students and staff perform better and are ill less often. Therefore helping students and staff stay active is an important goal.
Teams from across the University have risen to the challenge to participate in this fantastic initiative, including the Secret Vices team, consisting of the Directors of HR and Finance, Pro Vice-Chancellors, the Chief Operating Officer, the Vice-Chancellor and myself.
The Challenge itself was initially supported by a grant from the University of Southampton's Education Enhancement Fund under the auspices of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), and is reaching out to more univerisities across the UK.
I wish you all the best in achieving your goals.
Prof. Adam Wheeler
Deputy Vice-Chancellor

The goFIT site is hosted as lives within Sport and Wellbeing. S&W will be hosting many free activities for goFIT participants throughout the Challenge.

Sport and Wellbeing are proud to support GoFit as it really is an excellent motivational tool that will change peoples’ behaviours!

For those of you who are motivated by a challenge, this is for you and if you are a team player and inspired by those around you- even better.

Within Sport and Wellbeing it is our mission to get as many people accessing a healthy lifestyle we can and GoFit gives us the opportunity to positively influence the University community towards this goal.
We are offering many activities for people who are not Sport and Wellbeing members to log some minutes; from Circuits, to Boot-camp to Spinning, you can sign up for them all.  If you are a member of a University team why not use this as a training event, or perhaps it will help with team building.  The Sport and Wellbeing staff are entering a team- will you be able to match them?

Matt Plant, Director, Sport and Wellbeing

The goFIT approach is supported by a number of groups who are providing content and guidance for the project,including the Faculty of Medicine.

As the University’s British Heart Foundation Professor, you won’t be surprised to hear me saying that we all need to be more active. It’s something we have all heard a million times before . But for me the real reason is that it’s fun, helps me to work better and, funnily enough, feel more rested. Plus I don’t have to worry so much about what I eat! We need more of this in life today!

Professor Mark A Hanson MA DPhil PGCE FRCOG
Director, Academic Unit of Human Development & Health
Director, Institute of Developmental Sciences
British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton


Finally, the GoFit Challenge is lead by m.c. schraefel, Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance, Electronics and Computer Science, Faculty of Physical and Applied Science.

We all need to move more. All of us. There should be warning labels on our desks and couches that lack of movement is hazardous to our health. As a research associate at MIT i've seen how effective their GetFit challenge is at providing opportunities for us to move and succeed, and how effective it can be just to see how each other is doing on team logs. It's a motivator.

We want to go a little further than GetFit and not only provide this space to help us all move more, but also to look at how we can help more of us move more more of the time. The logs we'll create, the knowledge we'll share is all a great way to look at how we engage with healthy activities - what helps us start, what keeps us going, when we drop off, what helps us pick up again.

Behind every brain is a body, afterall. The converse is also true. The goFIT challenge lets us have a legitiamate(d) reason to focus a bit on the body side of that brain-body equation.

We have an opportunity here to create a new kind of research resource around how real people do real well being in real time. We hope goFIT goes viral: as more campuses become interested in running a goFIT challenge, we'll generate a richer health map of the UK. Do folks in the north follow the same patterns as folks in the south? if it's different how? what can we learn from the differences and similarities? How can the digital be better designed to support our very physical wellbeing, and so support our cognitive performance?



The goFIT site design and management has been carried out by University of Southampton Alumni Joe Lambert and Stephen Cross of Rareloop.com. It is served to USouthamtpon and Participating Universities by iSolutions, U of Southampton.