Walking group doing a health challenge

Health challenge how-to

The idea of eating a healthy diet and committing to an exercise plan can seem daunting for some. However, having a support system of other people can help you stay the course and accomplish your goals.

Tracy Knox, a school-based nurse at Community Health Network, has taken a group-oriented approach to weight loss and implemented a health challenge at her workplace. Knox split coworkers into teams and challenged them to eat well and exercise. The team that collectively lost the most weight received a reward for the efforts.

Knox provided tips for those looking to start their own weight loss challenge, and encourage a healthier, more energetic work environment.

  • Have a plan that’s easy to follow. Check the internet for ideas and don't forget to outline basic rules and guidelines that the group should follow. 
  • Offer an incentive. This can be a cash reward or prizes that promote good health (water bottles, grocery gift cards, etc.).
  • Use a buddy system. By pairing participants up, you increase accountability and boost morale. 
  • Track your eating and exercise habits. Encourage participants to use a food log and/or fitness tracker to log healthy activities.
  • Set small, attainable goals. Work up to more long-term goals as you progress. 
  • Communicate. Share recipes, exercise routines and words of encouragement with your group. 
  • Don’t feel discouraged by a week of poor results. A week of highly visible progress is sure to follow. 

"The camaraderie built during a workplace wellness challenge truly encourages positive behavior and produces great results," said Knox. "Consider challenging your staff to lead healthy and positive lives."

For more tips, or for help getting started, contact Community Employer Health.