| 03.17.2018

Fit for the holidays – UI faculty and staff compete in annual Healthy Holiday Challenge

The Holiday Fitness Challenge gives University of Idaho faculty and staff the opportunity to keep the stress and holiday weight gain under control.

The goal of the event is to help participants stay consistent with workouts during this holiday season, a busy and often calorie-filled time of year.

Peggy Hamlett, Wellness and Fitness director, has been coordinating the challenge for years and said she loves how excited participants often get, especially UI employees from extension offices.

“We try to make this friendly for everyone,” Hamlett said. “So that everyone can be excited to participate and be active during the holidays.”

There are about 160 people participating in the challenge this year, which runs from Nov. 22 through Jan. 2.

The competition is made up of teams that range from three to five members.

“People have been really enthusiastic about joining in,” Hamlett said. “We love watching the teams progress and enjoy the friendly competition.”

There are three divisions of the challenge based on a person”s activity level.

Santa”s Little Helper is a division for people who don”t usually workout, but want a reason to stay active this season.

Buddy the Elf is for people who like to work out in order to stay healthy.

Polar Express is for people who are competitive and work out intensely – almost daily. This year, participants will also be able to use a program to log their activities.

Blue Cross of Idaho has a phone application and website for their members, or people can sign up as guests. The program makes it easy for teams to log all of their activities, including the ability to see which teams are currently ahead.

Kristin Strong, special events coordinator at the Student Recreation Center, said she be- lieves the challenge brings a positive attitude to the stresses of the holidays.

“The way the program is set up really shows people that everything they are doing is exercise,” Strong said. “Any movement helps, especially during the holidays.”

Teams log daily activities, which can include simple tasks like playing with their kids or cleaning their house, as well as ac- tivities such as bike riding or walking on a treadmill.

There are weekly drawings for teams that have kept up with logging their activities, with prizes including gift cards, Vandal gear and water bottles.

Blue Cross of Idaho donated Fitbits this year, which will be given as grand prizes at the end of the challenge.

To Hamlett and Strong, these prizes are second to the great feelings that come from being physically active.

“My favorite part is hearing from people how much they enjoyed the event,” Hamlett said. “That it helped them stay active during the crazy holidays.”

Diamond Koloski can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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