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Free event challenges students to healthier life

March 12, 2009

Every year, UW-River Falls Student Health Services holds the Wellness Challenge, an online program designed to help students on campus make healthy choices and receive prizes and points for their successes.

The Wellness Challenge is a free opportunity to gain a healthy lifestyle through activity, healthy hygiene and medical habits and nutrition. Students, faculty and staff are allowed to participate in the Wellness Challenge. The Wellness Challenge started Feb 6 and continued until March 13.

“It’s kind of fun because faculty and staff are in it too, and we have a lot of office teams at Student Health Services,” Student Health marketing intern Cortney Holum said.

Holum is participating in the Wellness Challenge by doing aerobic activity, playing basketball, drinking eight or more glasses of water a day, flossing daily, taking a multi-vitamin and eating a balanced amount of vegetables and fruits.

The Wellness Challenge is run through the University’s Web site. Participants submit points individually or in a team and receive points for physical activity, healthy nutrition and choices, and also attending cultural, spiritual or sporting events. Individual participants who earn more than 50 points are entered into a drawing for a prize and teams with more than 200 points are entered into a drawing for a prize.

The points are divided into three categories, daily, weekly and a onetime point for example, for receiving a dental exam. The points run weekly, Monday to Monday and at the start of each week, the participant’s points are reset to zero. The points are tallied every Tuesday by Holum.

Holum said the most rewarding thing about the Wellness Challenge is not the prizes but “the feeling you get after you accomplish something.”

This year there were 170 participants, which is 50 more than last year, Holum said.

“We’re happy with the turn out,” Holum said.

Sisters Cayla and Lynsey Wencl both participated in the Wellness Challenge for the first time. Cayla participated by playing basketball, lifting weights and going to free yoga on Mondays. Yoga is offered for free on Mondays in the University Center ballroom from 4 to 5 p. m. Cayla won an individual prize of a free rock climbing certificate, and her team won free smoothies at the University Center. Each participant can only win one of the weekly team prizes and one of the weekly individual prizes, but they are still eligible to win the grand prize at the end of the challenge.

“I think it’s going good,” Cayla said. “I have been more conscious about what I eat, and I have been taking vitamins and drinking water. I did work out before, but the Wellness Challenge has increased wanting a healthy lifestyle.”

Lynsey said she does the same things as her sister but she also ice skates and walks.

Both sisters said they would love to participate in the Wellness Challenge next year; however Cayla will have graduated.

“I was pretty healthy before,” Lynsey said. “But I would say it has increased, I am happier and healthier.”