Workforce Health | By | 05/18/18 | 3 Minute Read

2 Non-Step Challenge Ideas For Your Wellness Program

It’s no secret that hosting step challenges at your organization can encourage employees to stay more active throughout the day. In fact, Fitbit data shows that users who participate in Fitbit’s in-app Challenges take an average of 2,000 more steps per day than those who do not participate—which is about an extra mile of walking per day.

But if you’re a little stuck thinking “been there, done that” when it comes to step-based challenges, it may be time to switch things up. There are plenty of ways to encourage activity among employees without hosting the same step challenge time after time. Here are some non-step challenge ideas that can still encourage health and wellbeing in the workplace—with a little friendly competition mixed in, too.  

Active Minutes: This challenge encourages employees to reach 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week. Why 30 minutes? Because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends completing 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week, totaling 150 minutes per week, to maintain weight and reduce risk of illness.

  • Name: Amp it Up
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Team: Split up teams by office location or by department
  • How it works: Each week, challenge teams to average at least 30 minutes of exercise for at least 5 days. At the end of each week, determine which teams hit 30 minutes of activity for at least 5 days and enter them into a grand prize raffle. At the end of the 4-week challenge, enter the qualifying active teams into the raffle. Throughout the challenge, encourage participants to share how they kept active, by snapping pictures of themselves on a hike with friends, jogging with coworkers, or dancing with family members.

Floors climbed: Stair climbing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think exercise, but it’s effective and accessible, especially at the office. Not only will climbing stairs get hearts pumping, it can actually improve our health. In fact, one study reported that eight flights of stairs a day is associated with a 33% lower risk of stroke and early mortality.

  • Name: Elevator? What Elevator?
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Teams: Organize teams to represent charities of their choice
  • How it works: It’s time to get climbing! The team who has the highest floor average at the end of the challenge will take home the gold. Shoot for a goal of
    10 floors (flights of stairs) per day. Throughout the challenge, urge employees
    to get creative with getting in their floors, like running up and down the stairs at
    a park, climbing the stairs at the mall, or going on a hike over the weekend.

Keep in mind that some wearable devices, including Fitbit trackers, can automatically track active minutes and stairs. For employees who don’t have an activity tracker, offer guidelines that define the appropriate metric so participants can log this information accurately. Better yet, post useful wellness information around the office, such as signs that mark how many floors would be earned by taking the stairs.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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For more unique non-step-based activity challenge ideas, dive into our playbook, “4 Challenges To Take Employees Beyond Steps.”

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