Winter motivation: Wellness Challenge returns


Rebecca Mueller/Winonan

For the organizers of the 2013 Wellness Challenge at Winona State University, winter is no time to slack on wellness.

The challenge, which runs from Feb. 4 to March 4, pits students, faculty and staff against each other in all aspects of wellness, from getting a physical to trying a new way to get moving.

Teams consisting of 10 members, including one team leader, could sign up until Feb. 1. The team leader is in charge of submitting weekly point totals for the team to the Integrated Wellness Complex every Monday during the challenge.

The month-long event is run primarily by a student intern at the Wellness Complex, who compiles each team’s weekly point totals and acts as the main contact for the event. This year, the event will be run by student intern Eric Weigel.

“It’s a good opportunity for a student to be the point person,” said Jeff Reinardy, the director of fitness and wellness.

This year, it is Weigel’s responsibility to collect, record and display each team’s weekly point totals during the event. He was also in charge of updating the website and creating advertisements for the event several weeks in advance.

Reinardy helps with the event behind the scenes. He ensures that all the information about the Wellness Complex is updated and that the entire event runs smoothly.

Students can compete within a student club or organization or as a group of individual students. Many of Winona State’s Greek organizations have a wellness chair that can help coordinate fitness activities for their organization. The Greek organization Sigma Sigma Sigma has a total of three teams participating in this year’s challenge.

“Anyone who can get into the Wellness Complex can participate,” said Weigel. He estimates that the total number of teams consists of about two-thirds student teams and one-third faculty and staff teams.

Faculty and staff often compete within their specific departments or organizations. Last year, Chartwells’ staff competed as Team Chartwells, and faculty in the Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences department competed as Team Burning Lipids.

On average, around 10 to 14 teams will participate in the Wellness Challenge, which has been an annual event at Winona State since around 2004. As of Feb. 4, 20 teams had signed up.

There are several ways for team members to earn points, many of which are meant to encourage and reinforce healthy daily lifestyles both in and out of the gym.

“Most of the items don’t take place or need to take place in our facility at all,” said Reinardy.

Team members can earn one point a day for not smoking in a 24-hour period. Each team member has a one-time opportunity during the challenge to earn three points for getting their annual physical.

Other point opportunities include drinking eight ounces of water eight times per day, eating two fruits and three vegetables every day, and getting at least seven hours of continuous sleep each night.

“It really makes you conscious of what you’re doing day to day,” Weigel said. By earning points for living healthily, participants have extra incentive for maintaining healthy habits.

Although many of the opportunities for points focus on the individual, participants can work together to encourage each other and stay on track. Participants are also encouraged to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions because the Wellness Challenge is held at the start of the spring semester.

The winning team will receive T-shirts with the 2013 Wellness Challenge logo. Point totals are due each Monday and will be displayed on a bulletin board near the main entrance to the Integrated Wellness Complex.

Contact Rebecca at [email protected]