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UWRF Wellness Challenge promotes physical fitness

February 18, 2015

At least 140 members of the UW-River Falls community are striving to get fit and improve their lives over the course of the next month through the “Wellness Challenge” that is being run through Student Health and Counseling Services.

Students, faculty and staff are competing as individuals or as teams in the four-week challenge. This edition of the Wellness Challenge started on Feb. 9 and will run through March 8. This is not the first go-round for the Wellness Challenge.

UWRF students utilize the indoor climbing wall while participating in the Wellness Challenge.
UWRF students utilize the indoor climbing wall while participating in the Wellness Challenge. (Jack Haren/Student Voice)

Health education Coordinator Keven Syverson said the challenge has been going on at UWRF for at least a decade now.

“I hope it’s a fun opportunity for students, faculty and staff to get together and have some healthy competition,” Syverson said. “Kind of break up the winter a little bit. Just put a little different focus on things.”

The challenge is quite simplistic. When a participant does something healthy, they get points for the activity. The points are logged-in by the participant themselves on FalconSync. A moderate 30-minute workout is worth five points, but it does not just stop at physical activities.

“We want it to go beyond a physical activity challenge, that’s why it’s a Wellness Challenge,” Syverson said. “You get points for brushing your teeth, you get points for getting enough sleep, eating your veggies. It’s well beyond just the physical activity component of health.”

There are also one-time points. These criteria of points come from activities done throughout the year that are not done during the four-week time frame such as getting your blood pressure checked, a tetanus shot, breast examination and to quit smoking. These one-time point activities can only be used once during the competition.

If a participant is part of a team, the one-time points are an area where teams can strategize.

“Teams that are smart will use their one-time points all on the same week, so they have the best chance to win that week,” said health intern Brent Bundgaard.

Bundgaard is the intern in charge of the Wellness Challenge this year. This is his second-straight year behind the wheel of the challenge. He’s also on a team with three other health interns.

The team concept to the Wellness Challenge is also fairly simple. The team members have to put in their numbers and then an average for the group is found. The hope is that team members will push each other to become and stay active, and also push them to put in their points. If one team member fails to put in their numbers for the week, the team’s average drops.

The challenge does feature prizes for the weekly champions. The victors in a team will receive a smaller prize than an individual winner. The team prizes include smoothie coupons and Jimmy John’s gift cards. Individual prizes include a month pass to Anytime Fitness or Snap Fitness and a $20 gift card to a nearby spa.

“140-145 people is quite a bit to me, it’s quite cool to see,” Bundgaard said. “The prizes are small, so that’s not the main intent of it, the main intent is to get healthier and try to better your lifestyle.”