Salford Business School 30.06.20

Red Devils fans keep fit in lockdown

Rugby League fans in Salford have been keeping themselves fit during the long weeks of lockdown, thanks to a dedicated club fitness app.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, fans of Salford Red Devils have racked up millions of steps using the Fan Fit app. Experts say regular exercise during the coronavirus lockdown will help boost both physical and mental health in a challenging time.

Fan Fit, designed by academics at the University of Salford Business School, allows supporters to compete against each other to do the most steps and to win a monthly league. 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. It is also possible to create private leagues so you can challenge friends and family to see who can do the most steps.

It can be challenging maintaining normal steps during lockdown – globally, Fit Bit stats show that the number of steps are down across the world, but Red Devils fans keep going. In May alone they racked up nearly 5 million steps, with over 16 million steps achieved since lockdown began.

Dr Alex Fenton, of Salford Business School, founder of the Fan Fit app, said: “It has been a tremendous effort by these supporters.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here at the University of Salford, and working with our partners and funded by the Innovation Foundation, Nesta, we started a campaign to help fans in lockdown.

“The lockdown has had a massive impact on people’s lives. It also means fans can’t do their normal exercise or even the usual walks or runs but keeping active is crucial for health, fitness, wellbeing and mental health.

“It’s great to see that Red Devils fans have been keeping up their steps and using the app to keep them motivated. The competition, community and passion they have for their club is really keeping them active, even during lockdown.”

Neil Blackburn, Director at the Salford Red Devils Foundation, said: “We have utilised the Fan Fit app to compliment our fantastic community programmes as a valuable engagement and tracking tool.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic the app's importance has only grown due to our inability to host physical sessions due to the restrictions. It has been a lifeline to some participants continuing to allow social interaction and giving people tangible goals to ensure they remain healthy through this testing times.

“I firmly believe that the app will continue to play a valuable role in our community delivery as we start to rebuild our physical delivery programmes.”

The Fan Fit App is designed to help fans create digital communities around favourite brands while maintaining a healthy competition between fans through step tracking.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.