Wellness challenges are a great way to stay focused on your health goals or tackle an area of your health that has been off track.
Spice up your health routines by making a commitment to a wellness challenge. You can work on these behavior changes independently or with co-workers, family, or friends. Working on a wellness challenge can be a one-week commitment or a month-long effort. You choose. The goal is to strengthen healthy habits and give you momentum towards improving your health.
Here are a list of health and wellness challenges to give you ideas.
Food & Nutrition Wellness Challenges
1. Put more veggies on your plate.
It is suggested that adult women consume 2.5 cups of vegetables every day, while adult men should consume 3 cups of vegetables every day. Start filling your plate with more vegetables and have these as a snack throughout the day.
2. Eat Mindfully
Take a break from technology while you are eating. Leave your phone in your purse, drawer, or in another room if you have to. Avoiding distractions while eating encourage you to focus on actually enjoying your meal, connecting with your mealtime partners, and recognizing cues of satiety that will allow you to stop eating when you are full, not stuffed.
3. Find healthier food swaps.
Rather than throw out the foods you love, challenge yourself to find healthier replacements.
4. Stay hydrated.
Not drinking enough water each day? Fill your reusable water bottle every morning! Aim to get anywhere from 64 ounces to half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you have a family, fill water bottles for everyone. Make this part of your family’s daily routines.
5. Try new foods.
Is your meal routine getting boring? Challenge yourself to find new food items or recipes to try, and put these on the menu!
6. Keep a record of your meals.
Keep a food journal of all your meals. Include your drinks and snacks too! Tracking your food and beverage intake is an objective way to see what you’re consuming. This wellness challenge helps you to build awareness of your food choices and patterns, and develop healthie eating and hydration habits.
7. Put away the salt shaker.
Want a heart healthy diet? Reduce your salt intake. Whether you’re cooking with salt or adding it to meals at the table – put away the salt shaker. Instead, reach for fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals. Even lemon or lime juice can give your meals new life. Your taste buds won’t even miss the salt after a few days.
8. Select a smaller plate.
Start using a smaller plate for meals and you’ll soon realize that you still feel “full” after each meal. This works because eating from a smaller plate tricks your brain into thinking you’ve had a larger serving when you haven’t. You’ve actually had less food, and less calories.
9. Look at labels.
One of the best wellness challenges you can do from this list is to look at labels. Take the time to turn over packaged items a the grocery store. Take time to notice the amount of calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and look at the ingredient list for any mystery ingredients or hidden sources of sugar.
10. Boost your fruit intake.
This list of wellness challenges would be incomplete without mentioning fruit. It is recommended that adult women consume 1.5 cups of fruit every day, and adult men Adult men should consume 2 cups of fruit each day.
11. Choose healthier fats.
Fat gets a bad rap. But healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet. Some options are avocado, avocado oil, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
12. Add some spice to your life (or meals).
Healthy foods should be just as flavorful as their unhealthy counterparts. Experiment with herbs and spices to make your meals delicious, without added salt.
13. Try nuts.
Need a snack with benefits? Try nuts! Nuts are a great alternative to less healthy crunchy, salty, or sugary snacks. Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. And they are an easy on-the-go snack to keep hunger at bay in-between meals. But don’t go overboard. Just a handful is all you need for one serving. So, don’t be afraid to go a little nuts!
14. Find smarter snack options.
Are you continually reaching for high-sugar or carb-filled snacks? Makeover your snack routine by finding healthier replacements. Having a healthy, balanced snack is a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and ward off hunger pangs between meals. Just make it a healthy, balanced snack.
15. Skip the meat.
Substitute meat for plant-based protein once a day or a few days this week or month. Some protein options are beans, legumes, tempeh, tofu, Greek yogurt, and quinoa to name a few.
Activity and Fitness Wellness Challenges
16. Add resistance training to your routine.
Resistance training not only helps strengthen muscles, but can also help with pain, balance, bone density, and can even help with sleep problems and depression.
17. Renew your exercise motivation.
You might start your exercise program with much excitement, but find it difficult to stay motivated after you meet an initial goal, or when you start to feel sore. Be sure that you are focusing on the reasons for wanting to exercise and become healthy so you can stay motivated and stick with your exercise routine.
18. Get a good stretch.
Whether you use a reminder app to remember to move or stretch periodically, or you develop a routine of stretching for a few minutes every day, stretching can benefit your health. As you might imagine, stretching helps to increase flexibility, relieve tension and join pain, and supports better balance and posture. So, loosen up and make stretching a part of your everyday routine.
19. Take more steps every day.
If you’ve been sitting most of your days at work, make the commitment to stand and move more throughout the day. Sitting for long periods of time can have a negative effect on not only your weight, but can also affect risk factors for chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
20. Start a yoga practice.
Yoga is an all-aroud great form of exercise. The many benefits of yoga include increased strength, balance, flexibility, sleep and more. And there are many forms so you can find a yoga style that suits your preferences.
21. Reduce time and increase intensity of workouts.
Do you feel pressed for time when you go to the gym. Interval training is an efficient way to use your workout time, and increase calories burned.
22. Take walking breaks.
Instead of using your breaks to whip out your phone and surf mindlessly or check your social media feed (again!), take a walk! Break up the workday by headout out for a quick stroll outside in your neighborhood or around the office building. If it’s too hot, cold, or rainy to go walking do a quick walking workout instead.
23. Make fitness a family affair.
Make exercise not only a part of your lifestyle, but a part of your whole family’s lifestyle as well. A family that gets active together stays healthy together. Get the entire family on board with a fitness plan to keep everyone active and healthy.
24. Work on your core strength.
Core exercises are not just for gaining six-pack abs. These types of exercises strengthen the muscles around your abdominals, hips and back.
Other Wellness Challenge Ideas
25. Develop a positive outlook.
Develop your positive mindset by focusing on the positive. Or in other words, develop an attitude of gratitude. Every day, write down one thing that you are grateful for.
26. Sleep well.
Do you often feel drained throughout the day? You may be missing out on sleep. A healthy sleep habit can boost areas of health like energy, healthy weight, and mood. Don’t fall into the trap of skimping on sleep and then trying to “catch up” on weekends. Once you’ve missed those hours of sleep, they’re gone forever. Make sleep a priority!
27. Tame your schedule.
Are you overwhelmed with the busyness of life? If your schedule is so full that there’s not clear space in sight, it’s time to re-evaluate your schedule.
Having too many to-do’s and commitments can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional well-being. Commit to things that are only absolute “yeses.” If it’s an “I’m not sure” or a “maybe” then it’s probably a “no.” Remember that other people’s priorities don’t necessarily have to be yours. Save your time for the things and people that are most important to you.
28. Do something enjoyable every day.
Eating healthy and being active are not the only behaviors that can boost health. Engaging in other enjoyable activities is a necessary part of living a well-balanced life. Take time out from your busy schedule every day to do something enjoyable. This might be working on your hobby, going for a walk, gardening, or reading a book. And it doesn’t have to be the same thing every day. Just be sure that you’re setting aside some “me time” to refill your tank each
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Meditation helps to promote a sense of calm and inner peace, and is a great practice for supporting both your physical and mental well-being. There are many types of meditation, including mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. Also, you can use meditation apps to start your meditation practice.
30. Address your stress.
Stress is an underlying factor in many health issues including heart disease, diabetes, sleep problems, obesity and more. Develop a plan to effectively manage stress for better health.
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.