Wellness Challenge: students get fit together


Samantha Stetzer/Winonan

As the lull of February drags on, it becomes increasingly harder for people to keep up their New Year’s resolutions—if they have not given up already.

The Integrated Wellness Complex on campus is looking to give a boost to those looking to improve their health with the Wellness Challenge.

Senior Kelsey Andrist, a movement science major on the Winona State University basketball team, is among those organizing the event.

“The Wellness Challenge is an opportunity for a group of people to get together and brainstorm and think of ideas to be healthier—mind, body, spirit,” Andrist said.

The Wellness Challenge is a team activity that works in a point system. Students team up and keep track of their physical activity and other wellness goals to score points and win prizes.

“We give them opportunities and ideas of different ways to earn points through a bunch of activities,” Andrist said. “It’s kind of a motivating program to get people to be more conscious of being healthy and their fitness.”

Winona State strength and conditioning coach Jeff Reinardy asked Andrist to coordinate the Wellness Challenge this year.

Andrist said, “I’ve heard of it every year, and I was excited to be a part of it this year.”

Teams usually range from seven to ten people, and each team has a different motivation for signing up.

Jinniece Kalal, a member of team Walk n’ Roll, decided to participate for the extra support of a team.

“Participation in an ongoing program like the Wellness Challenge can be hard to maintain,” Kalal said. “But it is easier with support of a team to remind you to keep going.”

Carly Wilke, a member of team 3&4 Kirkland, can count the prizes as part of her motivation.

“We are going to keep motivated by encouraging each other to keep going,” she said. “We also want some cool T-shirts.”

Achieving prime health and wellness is not the only prize for these participants. By participating in activities, such as going to a wellness class or going to the fitness center, teams can rack up points. In the end, the team with the most points will win prizes, such as t-shirts, water bottles and other fitness-related prizes.

For Andrist, the benefits of the challenge are well worth the hard work put into it.

“I think the benefits are to be more conscious about working out, maybe setting times to work out—and not only just working out but eating right and getting enough sleep,” Andrist said.

“The challenge is designed to not just focus on the physical dimension but to include all dimensions of wellness, so it encourages participants to develop good habits for improving and maintaining their wellness,” Kalal said. “Even in the first week of the challenge, I have become more aware of my habits, like going to the gym, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water and getting enough sleep.”

According to Andrist, adding friends into the equation is part of what makes the Wellness Challenge work.

“You’re much more motivated when you have someone there pushing you and keeping you accountable,” she said. “And also you’re talking to your teammates, talking about how many points you got, and then also it’s fun for competition aspect.”

For Andrist and participants in the Wellness Challenge, fitness is a team sport.

“It’s not an individual effort, so if you get some friends together, it really makes it more fun when you try things together,” Andrist said.