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People


“We’re able to give people the positive side of the calorie equation”


Helen Nuki, founder, StepJockey


StepJockey – the brainchild of Helen Nuki (below) – is based on the nudge theory that positive reinforcement changes behaviour


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igns explaining how many calories are burned by taking the stairs instead of the lift will be


added to public staircases as part of a government-backed scheme to improve the fitness of UK workers. The scheme was developed by a


Department of Health-funded web start-up called StepJockey. Trials at three large office buildings, including the BBC in Manchester, found that signs advertising how many calories you could burn by taking the stairs increased the number of people using them by up to 29 per cent. “The aim of StepJockey is very simple:


mark the built environment for calorie burn in the same way we mark foods for calorie consumption,” says Helen Nuki, founder of StepJockey. “We’re starting with stairs because stair climbing is classed as a vigorous physical activity and burns more calories than jogging.” The idea for StepJockey was born


when Nuki showed her eight-year-old daughter a packet of biscuits with the calorie and fat content listed, and her daughter asked why labels only ever showed bad things. “In that moment, the idea to label the


world for calorie burn was born,” Nuki says. “In doing this, we’re able to give the positive side of the calorie equation.” The service uses an app and website. Users will be able to scan ‘smart signs’


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on the allocated stairways and track the calories they burn over time. The scheme is based on nudge theory


– the idea that positive reinforcement can change behaviour. “Because we can’t process all the information needed to make every single decision throughout the day, we rely on automatic behaviour to get us through. This behaviour is governed by many factors such as habit,


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


ease, salience and what we see other people doing,” says Nuki. “We knew that if we wanted to change


behaviour, we needed something that would be easy for people to do, would have salience (the posters interrupt habits at the point of behaviour), would be for everyone and would give an incentive for people to change.” Details: www.stepjockey.com


November/December 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


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