The research was conducted by Blue Light Card, the UK’s leading specialist discount service for emergency services, NHS and social care workers. The company asked its members to reveal how many steps they racked up during a recent work week, by monitoring their smartwatch, pedometer or phone’s step counter.

The study comes following reports that staffing shortages in the NHS are at an all-time high, with figures released by NHS England showing the number of staff off work due to Covid-19 doubled in the last two weeks of 2021.

Out of all blue light workers, firefighters logged the highest number of steps per week on average, with over 80,000 steps per worker.

However, one police officer walked more than 240,000 steps in their most recent work week, of which they had seven shifts. This equates to 15.5 miles of walking per day, surpassing a half marathon (13.1 miles) in each shift.

For comparison, most Brits walk between 3,000-4,000 steps, or 1.5 miles, per day.

Of those surveyed, the individual respondents who logged the highest step count per week were:


Position Job role Steps taken per week Estimated miles walked per week Estimated time on feet per week
1 Police officer 247,756 109.3 36.3 hours
2 Social care worker 163,000 71.73 23.9 hours
3 Play coordinator 160,671 70.71 23.5 hours
4 Support worker 156,000 68.65 22.8 hours
5 Health care assistant 150,000 66.01 22 hours
6 Fire service administrator 127,794 56.24 18.7 hours
7 Detention officer 127,631 56.17 18.7 hours
8 Police Officer 125,324 55.15 18.3 hours
9 Home carer 123,777 54.47 18.1 hours
10 St John's Ambulance 121,257 53.36 17.7 hours


Despite one police officer dominating the list of individual respondents, the sectors that accumulated the highest number of steps overall were firefighters and prison officers.

According to the study, firefighters walk 238% more than the average Brit per week, while 30% of prison officers are clocking up more than 100,000 steps per week.


Position Sector Average steps taken per week Average miles walked per week Estimated time on feet per week
1 Firefighting 80,843 35.58 11.8 hours
2 Prison officer 70,598 31.07 10.3 hours
3 Health care assistants 63,504 28.95 9.3 hours
4 Nursing 59,657 26.25 8.7 hours
5 Upper management 59,226 26.06 8.6 hours
6 NHS scientists 58,160 25.6 8.5 hours
7 Police officers 54,782 24.11 8 hours
8 Social care workers 54,636 24.05 8 hours
9 Administration 53,767 23.66 7.8 hours
10 Pharmacist 47,885 21.07 7 hours


Tom Dalby, CEO at Blue Light Card, commented: “Many frontline workers are on their feet a lot throughout the day, walking to different patients, attending emergency incidents, performing security checks, and monitoring street-level behaviour. But they often work longer shifts than the average office worker, meaning they can be on their feet for up to 12 hours a day.

“We decided to conduct this research to enable the British public to step into the shoes of blue light workers, and provide them with a better understanding of just how far, both mentally and physically, frontline workers go every single day to protect our communities.

“It’s clear to see that every single sector mentioned here is doing more steps than the average Brit, who does around 24,500 per week and during winter months especially, many frontline workers may have to work even longer hours too.

“Each and every day UK emergency services, NHS and social care workers work incredibly hard, while coping with physical demands many of us can’t even imagine and this study really highlights all their tireless efforts. We’re incredibly thankful to the whole blue light community for all they do for the nation.”

For more information about Blue Light Card, visit