Salford Business School 14.02.20

Rangers fans walk the globe five times in fitness challenge

Rangers Football Club fans have racked up millions of steps, the equivalent to five times round the earth, thanks to a fitness app.

Fan Fit is a smartphone app created by experts at the University of Salford, that encourages football fans to take part in physical activity by increasing their daily step count and competing against each other to see who does the most exercise.

Partnered in November with Rangers Charity Foundation, ‘Fit Bears’ was launched as part of the project.  The app records steps from walking and running and creates a league table of achievement, as well as keeping supporters up to date with the latest news from the club.

Dr Alex Fenton, from the University of Salford’s Business School and project lead of Fan Fit, said: “We’ve been working on the Fit Bears app project with Rangers Charity Foundation. We’ve had nearly 7,000 Rangers fans download our app. It pulls in all of the latest news and updates from Rangers Charity Foundation and Rangers FC as an official club app would, but with the addition of tracking walking and running automatically. In December and January, Rangers fans have walked over 250 million steps in total, a truly amazing effort!”

Rangers Charity Foundation Senior Communication Executive, Rachel Cummins, commented: “We’re thrilled to see so many supporters positively engage with the ‘Fit Bears’ and hope that they’ve enjoyed all the benefits which come with it.

“We’re proud to have become, with support from the University of Salford, one of the first football club foundations in the UK to create an app with integrated health and fitness benefits, and hope to see Fan Fit continue to grow to more clubs in the future.”

The app allows users to compete to secure their place at the top of the Fit Bears Fan Fit Step League each month by accumulating the most steps to win prizes. Users can also set up private leagues with friends.

And it has made a real impact so far. Rangers fan William Tosh made it to the top of the December monthly league and won a signed Rangers First Team shirt, match tickets and the opportunity to come pitch side with his Dad.

William said: “My fitness has improved dramatically since using the app. I didn’t do much exercise before using it, so it’s motivated me to keep up with my exercise and do my steps in the morning before I go to work.”

“There’s definitely a sense of community as well as a competitiveness to it. Once you’re top of the league you don’t want to come off!”

Another Rangers supporter and January Fit Bears league winner, Gary McGuire, lost a stone by using the app.

He said: “Before I wasn’t active apart from walking at work but when I got the app, I started walking a lot more and using a cross trainer - and I’ve actually bought a bike as well.

“It’s definitely helped my fitness and it helps having the incentive of winning prizes if you get to the top of the league. I want to keep going especially as I’ve lost weight from it.”  

Diane Mackie is a full-time mother and foster mother and has been a member of the Fit Bears Focus Group over the past two months.

She said: “I’ve had four children in the past year, so I’ve been having to find time to get things done but being part of the fit group and using the Fit Bears app has definitely given me a lot more motivation.”

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