January 26, 2022 January 26, 2022

Wellness Challenge provides healthy start to the new year

Posted on 11 January 2022 by Matthew Liebenberg

Swift Current residents can start the new year in an active way with healthy habits when they participate in the 10th annual Wellness Challenge.

This free-of-charge activity is offered by the City of Swift Current Community Services Division to promote healthy lifestyles among residents.

“We’re excited for the 10th annual Wellness Challenge,” In Motion Community Facilitator Val Choo-Foo said. “Over the past nine years we’ve had just under 2,500 people participate in this challenge. So hoping to get maybe new faces, old faces coming back and participating in the challenge again this year.”

The 2022 Wellness Challenge takes place over a period of four weeks from Jan. 24 to Feb. 20. Teams need to be registered by Jan. 17. Participants can register a team from their workplace, family or circle of friends.

“It’s always fun to be part of a team, because if you register a team, you can motivate and encourage each other, support each other, just have a little bit of fun competition too,” she said. “So hoping that we’ll get lots of different teams. I know over the past nine years we’ve had teams from all different businesses and organizations.”

Some organizations have been frequent participants since the start of the annual Wellness Challenge and they have entered teams almost every year. Last year Riverview Village Estates entered one of the largest teams ever with 20 members. An organization can even enter multiple teams, if there is sufficient interest in the group, and that will add some more fun to their participation.

“Some groups have repeated themselves many years and signed up, and every year I’m surprised that some new businesses or families join and all different ages,” she said. “We’ve had from very young right up to many seniors that participate in the challenge. So that’s what we’re encouraging this year for our 10th annual Wellness Challenge is to get everybody out and focusing on healthy lifestyle choices and wellness.”

There will be prizes for the top team and for the top five participants, based on points scored during the challenge. A team needs to have at least five members to be eligible for the team prize.

She added that individuals can sign up to participate in the challenge on their own. They will still be eligible for the individual prizes, but they will not be considered for the team prize.

The team format is a great way to help members of a team to stay motivated during the challenge, but at the same time they do not need to meet to carry out the various activities. It is therefore a perfect activity during this pandemic time of physical distancing.

Participants will keep track of daily wellness points for nutrition, physical activity, water, sleep and personal wellness. They will report to their team captain once a week with their points. The team captain will compile the total team points per week and submit the information to Choo-Foo by Feb. 9 as a mid-report and then by Feb. 28 as a final report.

Choo-Foo evaluates feedback from each year’s challenge. As a result, personal wellness was added to this year’s challenge as a new activity for which participants can earn daily wellness points.

“It’s always been nutrition, physical activity, water and sleep, and we’re going to add personal wellness this year,” she said. “That will be things like meditation, journaling, mindfulness, anything that will help our mental health, especially during these times of the pandemic. We know that it’s so important for us to be focusing on our health and wellness. So we’re hoping this challenge will help everybody during these challenging times.”

Other regular features of the Wellness Challenge are a weekly challenge and an education challenge, which will provide participants with opportunities to earn bonus points.

The weekly challenges vary from doing a new exercise to using Canada’s Food Guide to try out a new recipe, as well as a grateful challenge and trying to limit screen time.

There will be four virtual lunch and learn sessions for the education challenge with speakers talking about the different areas used to earn daily wellness points (nutrition, physical activity, water, sleep, personal wellness). 

“We used to do it face to face and then put the video out,” she said. “This year we’re going to do it through lunch and learn as a Zoom meeting and I’ve got four community members that are going to speak. … That’s always nice to have that educational component too and even if you can’t show up during the lunch and learn, those are videotaped so that you can access them later and you get five bonus points for doing the educational component.”

There were 35 teams and 297 participants in the 2021 Wellness Challenge. Choo-Foo received positive comments from 58 participants who completed a survey after last year’s challenge. The majority (98 per cent) felt the challenge made them more aware of their daily choices around physical activity, nutrition, water, and sleep. The same number of respondents indicated their participation in the challenge will help them to make healthier choices in the future.

Comments from respondents indicated how they benefited from the Wellness Challenge. “I became more mindful of how I should take care of my well-being,” a respondent said.

Another person felt the Wellness Challenge will have long-term benefits. “I’m more motivated to stay well physically and mentally so I can enjoy many more healthy years of retirement!” the respondent said.

Another person felt the Wellness Challenge was helpful to start some good habits and it provided the structure for making healthy choices.

Choo-Foo noted the Wellness Challenge is sponsored by the Swift Current Kiwanis Club, which will make it possible to provide prices.

“A huge thank you goes out to the Swift Current Kiwanis Club,” she said. “They have supported us financially the majority of years and that helps with our prize that we give out and then for the other additional costs for promotion and things like that too. It’s always so nice that they support the Wellness Challenge, and then we have local sponsors too who donate prizes for the top five individuals with the highest average points.”

To register a team for the 2022 Wellness Challenge, send an e-mail to Choo-Foo at v.choofoo@swiftcurrent.ca and include the team name, number of participants, and the name of the team captain. Detailed information about the event is available on the City of Swift Current website at http://www.swiftcurrent.ca/wellnesschallenge

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