On Jan. 10, Portland State Campus Rec will be kicking off a 10-week health promotion program called the Healthy U Wellness Challenge. Wait a sec, did you read "challenge?" That's right, you did. This isn't your run-of-the-mill, ho-hum health-and-wellness-awareness program. This is a competition in which individual students and teams can earn prizes for enhancing their well-being, health knowledge, personal health and health habits. Contestants will earn points for their achievements in three different categories: Healthy Habits, Exercise and Event Participation.
The "Healthy Habits" category is a little less self-explanatory than one might immediately think. Not only does the challenge encourage no-brainers like not smoking and minimizing alcohol consumption, but also awards points for practicing safe sex, acting as a designated driver for your drunken cohorts or bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. Points are also offered for more holistic endeavors, such as writing in a journal, meditation (or other spiritual practices) and reading a book for pleasure.
"Exercise" is pretty much what it sounds like. Contestants earn points by engaging in 30 minutes or more of exercise, whether it is running, biking, swimming, strength training, etc. For those who really want to get a leg up on the competition, double points are offered for attending Group X classes.
"Event Participation" is primarily about offering education to contestants that will equip them to lead healthier lifestyles. These education events cover a very wide variety of topics that will be beneficial to beginners and more experienced health enthusiasts alike. The various events will cover weight room orientation, goal setting, nutrition basics, nutrition myths, injury prevention, stress management, sustainable living and techniques to measure exercise intensity. The Women's Resource Center is also lending a helping hand by offering an event discussing body image.
What's my take on all this? I'm pretty excited and I think it's an excellent idea. Plenty of us make resolutions to improve our health at the beginning of the New Year, but falling off the wagon is all too common for most. Two typical reasons for these shortcomings tend to be a loss of motivation or lack of support from our peers. Another common roadblock is that while one may have the drive and determination to better themselves, they lack the knowledge to get the ball rolling. The Healthy U Wellness Challenge addresses all of these hurdles by tapping into our competitive nature, by offering the support of the Campus Rec staff, health experts, teammates and lastly, by offering education.
From what I've read and heard about the challenge thus far, I am not at all shy in recommending this program to anyone who has had a rocky road with fitness in the past, or simply wants to have some fun while learning in the process.
To register for the challenge, go to Member Services on the second floor of the Campus Rec Center. Individual registration is $10 for Rec Center members (this includes all PSU students) and $20 for non-members. For more details, visit www.pdx.edu/recreation/wellness-challenge.