Rec program fires up 3K

More than 80 teams took part in RecWell’s “Let’s Go!” challenge last month.

Sophomore Macy Johannsen works out at the University Recreation and Wellness center on Thursday.  Johannsen participated in the Let's Go! Physical Activity Challenge and had the most points out of the girls on her team.

Holly Peterson

Sophomore Macy Johannsen works out at the University Recreation and Wellness center on Thursday. Johannsen participated in the Let’s Go! Physical Activity Challenge and had the most points out of the girls on her team.

Allison Kronberg

During one of the coldest winters in Minnesota’s history, students, faculty and staff braved the trek to the Rec for a physical activity challenge last month.

The Let’s Go! Physical Activity Challenge brought out more than 3,000 participants who logged more than 2.5 million minutes of physical activity from Feb. 3 to March 2.

Boynton Health Service and University Recreation and Wellness, which put on the event, announced the winning teams and individuals Monday. Winners of the contest won donated prizes like a one-month pass to Your Yoga, a one-year subscription to Nice Ride Minnesota or a $500 Delta Airlines gift card.

“Through this Physical Activity Challenge, we hope to promote physical activity in a fun way and bring awareness to the Health Advocate program and University,” Boynton Director of Health and Promotion Julie Sanem said.

Students in the Health Advocate program take a weekly class to provide their broader communities — like residence halls, apartment buildings or greek organizations — with information about common health issues.

Paul Borowick, health advocate for the Sigma Phi Epsilon team, said since his grade relied on his fraternity’s effort, he took the contest more seriously than in the past.

“This year I had to be the slave driver, so I was little bit more involved than last year,” Borowick said.

The 81 participating teams fell under greek, housing and residential life or University categories. The highest-scoring team of each category won a smoothie party.

For the greek category, Phi Gamma Delta won, including biology sophomore and member Matt Glup. 

“We got a lot of guys who weren’t that active that we got up and took out,” Glup said, “so we had a lot of guys going out and working out.”

According to the 2013 Boynton student survey, more than a quarter of students get little to no exercise in a given day. Additionally, about one in three males and about one in four females at the University are overweight or obese.

And the dead of winter is typically when it is hardest to get motivated to work out.

Student health advocate for the Alpha Phi sorority Macy Johannsen said she combatted that hurdle by making a workout part of her everyday routine. She does one to two hours of structured workouts five days of every week.

“I just make it an actual part of my schedule,” said Johannsen, who had the highest number of points out of the women on her team.

Glup and Johannsen said midterms and work posed roadblocks to consistent workouts. But they said carving out time for structured daily exercise helped.

Health advocates began the winter-month challenge in 2010, Sanem said.

This year, the challenge offered more than just a chance to log minutes of activity. It also provided weekly wellness tips, diet tracking, goal setting and sleep logs, among other options.

Participants were also able to log minutes online for the first time this year.

Navigating and utilizing the website was one of the biggest challenges for participants, Johannsen said. Many participants had trouble with entering their minutes, she said.

University Recreation and Wellness Director of Marketing and Communications Brad Hunt said they are aware of this problem and are working to make the challenge more accommodating in future years.

One of the hopes is that students continue to work out and maintain healthy lifestyles even after the challenge ends.

Johannsen said most of the women in her sorority were active before Let’s Go!, but the challenge and its rewards reinforced their dedication.

Glup said those who exercise more in his fraternity helped the others maintain their goals.

“That’s just kind [of] what a fraternity is about; you just motivate each other,” he said.

“In the long run, we’ve created a more health-aware house and a lot more guys who are more conscious of their bodies now.”