Wellbeing by collaboration

Middlesex University’s MDXMoves is an innovative cross-department initiative that’s paving the way for better health. Lisette Metcalfe explains

Lisette Metcalfe is ASRA treasurer and student housing services manager for Middlesex University.

In today’s society, we are very aware there are many benefits to living a healthier lifestyle. This is apparent by the amount of information we now receive on the effects of bad diet and poor exercise, coupled with scientific research and data, that leading a healthier lifestyle can improve one’s general wellbeing, mental and physical health and reduce the risk of serious illness and chronic diseases.

At Middlesex University, the sport and recreation service was keen to encourage participation and engagement between staff and students outside of the competitive arena. It offer a variety of programmes, activities and advice to encourage those not typically engaged in sports to take steps towards positive change and increase their general health and wellbeing.

Since 2015, the sport and recreation service has run wellbeing challenges for our staff and students using web based platforms. These were mainly limited to run over the summer, and so in 2018 it was decided that a system should be found for year-long participation, making the approach more available and accessible for students to be involved. Thus, MDXMoves was born.

The ethos behind MDXMoves is to encourage people to move more, whatever their current level of ability and fitness. The platform allows staff and students from all walks of life to participate without the need for fancy fitness trackers. It allows the use of a mobile phone to track physical activity, so simply walking a few extra bus stops home, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, all help in contributing to one’s daily activity. The web app is simple to use and syncs automatically with a variety of devices and allows users to monitor their activity levels, and feel motivated to do more through community challenges and leader boards.

Points are earned for activities logged and these can be converted into rewards, which range from sports water bottles and food vouchers to a gym membership or physio sessions. 

We are always looking for new ways to engage the halls communities and felt this was the perfect platform to help with this. It has been great in helping to promote wellbeing by getting the students active. Student housing services worked with sport and recreation to arrange monthly challenges, some of which were done in teams and some individually. Posters were displayed around the halls, and our resident assistants got involved to help encourage students’ participation. The university provided various prizes including MDXMoves tote bags, pizza nights (everybody needs a cheat day) and more. This collaboration has continued to evolve, with growing numbers in participation, and this project will definitely continue for the new academic year. Feedback from students has been amazing. The MDXMoves project team was shortlisted for the Middlesex University contribution to community and society award, and was very proud to be announced the winner of the award, which shows the value of this initiative to the whole university community.

Facts and Figures

  • MDXMoves currently has over 1,600 registered users of the online web app including students and staff
  • 206,901 miles have been travelled in total which is equivalent to eight times around the world, or 85% of the way to the moon
  • 456,355,891 steps have been logged
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