Entering its ninth year of operation, the Wellness Challenge in Swift Current may never have a more important mission as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many aspects of daily life.
“Many of our programs have had to be shut down, but the Wellness Challenge will not be cancelled due to COVID. If anything, we are strongly encouraging that it’s probably more important than ever that people are focusing on our physical health, but also our mental health and nutrition, all of it to try and keep ourselves healthy during these difficult times,” explained In Motion Community Facilitator, Val Choo-Foo.
The challenge will run for four weeks, beginning on January 18 and concluding on February 14, 2021.
“This is the ninth annual Wellness Challenge. We’ve been running it for many years with a lot of success. Over those eight years we’ve had 2,200 participants, so it’s been a fun challenge that’s offered to anyone and everyone, all ages. Often teams like to get together, whether it’s from a workplace or families, non-profit organizations or charity groups.”
“You register a team and in order to qualify for the team prize you need a minimum of five people on your team. The members of the team are going to keep track of daily wellness points. Those are in areas of nutrition, physical activity, water, and sleep.”
Teams interested in participating can email Choo-Foo at email@example.com to register.
“During that time all of the wellness components can be completed right from comfort and safety of our own home. At the same time it’s nice of people can get out and get some fresh air, but it can be completed right at home,” explained Choo-Foo, who added that this year’s educational component will focus on metal wellness with articles and videos available to earn bonus points.
The top five participants with the highest points will be rewarded with prizes as well as an award for the top team.
“We thank the Swift Current Kiwanis Club, they have sponsored the Wellness Challenge for many years. We thank them for their continued support,” said Choo-Foo.
Choo-Foo said the challenge has ranged from 180-240 participants in recent years and that teams like Living Sky Casino and Innovation Credit Union have been mainstays over the past eight years.
“It’s kind of cool that every year we get a variety of new teams. I always reflect and wonder if it has run its course and is it time to fold it and say it’s done. But we’re still around that 200 members and its kind of neat when you get new teams because you realize there’s some new people now that will focus on some lifestyle changes around health and wellness.”
She recently received confirmation that a local doctor was returning to the challenge again in 2021.
“To me personally, that felt really good that we have doctors and health care workers that see the value of the Wellness Challenge and are willing to get a team together and join. It makes me feel that we’re hitting the right areas.”
The City of Swift Current’s Recreation, Parks, and Culture Master Plan recently noted that 36.1 percent of adults in the Cypress Health Region population are considered to be obese, compared to 20.2 percent of the national population, and this is trending upwards.
“Obviously obesity rates around the world are really high. But that is very shocking. I would not have guessed we’re that much higher than the national average… That is alarming and I think it’s a wake up call that many of us need to look at,” said Choo-Foo.
“It’s not a diet, it’s not about losing weight. However, if making these healthy choices, that’s a positive result, is losing weight or eating healthier, it’s about the whole wellness.”
Choo-Foo stressed that the Wellness Challenge is meant to be accessible to a wide variety of people.
“It can be for everyone. It can be for those who have never done any physical activity to those who are very active.”
The deadline to register for the 2021 Wellness Challenge is January 13.