The Healthier Together Challenge February 22nd-April 6, 2021
The McGill University Comprehensive Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is partnering with the Health and Well-Being Program to offer McGill Staff and Faculty a Healthier Together Challenge.
Testimonials from the Winter 2021 Challenge
"We really enjoyed being a team participating in McGill's Healthier Together Challenge. It was especially nice to have occurred during the winter months,which encouraged us to bundle up and get out for some fresh air and exercise. During the pandemic, when we weren't seeing each other, it was nice to be in touch daily with words of encouragement ~ and at the end of the challenge felt we just had to meet up on Mont Royal for a celebratory run (socially distanced of course). Thank you to all the people who organized the Healthier Together Challenge; we appreciate all the work that went into it!"
Thank you for organizing the challenge! I appreciated it a lot especially for the accountability as I kept the challenge in mind everyday and had a team to encourage me. For the tracking as it forced me to track my activity (no matter how little) and made me aware how much physical activity I was doing on a daily basis. Finally for the visual aspect of the challenge. I enjoyed comparing the team scores (and enjoyed how anonymous it was) to see how far our team was going to encourage me to do more and contribute more.
Heidi Cheung, Graduate Program Coordinator, Faculty of Arts
I’m a new academic staff at McGill having joined the community in August 2020. Joining a new job virtually has been a challenge, and while my colleagues are all very friendly and supportive, I wasn’t feeling the type of connection with them that I had hoped to have. During my search for activity/exercise, I came across the Healthier Together Challenge, and thought, this would be perfect! This challenge will get me out of my office chair and at the same time I can bond with my colleagues. I suggested this challenge to my department and several people came on board. We called ourselves “Team LIC” (we’re in the Department of Language and Intercultural Communication in SCS).
Our team captain had suggested we write out three goals at the beginning of this challenge: realistic, ambitious and utopic goal. I kept these goals written on a sticky note kept on my keyboard. I could not not see them on a daily basis. Before the Healthier Together Challenge, on a good day, I was getting in 2,000-3,000 steps; on a regular day, maybe 1,000 steps. At the beginning of the challenge, I focused on the realistic goal, and I found that I was able to do this. It was hard though, 5000 steps felt like an eternity. By the second week of the challenge, I was able to walk 5,000 steps every day. By the third week, I was walking nearly 10,000 steps a day, and my body was calling on me to not only walk in the morning but also in the evening after dinner. I remember thinking: Whose body is this? For the last three weeks, I walked at least 10,000 twice EVERY DAY. It was amazing! I had gone from zero activity to at least 10,000 steps a day! I had reached my utopic goal, one that I thought was unimaginable. Another bonus: With all of that walking, I lost 12 lbs. in six weeks. I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out! This challenge exceeded my expectations! Of course, I got to know my colleagues better as we discussed our favourite activities/exercise, foods, and more. Thanks to the Healthier Together Challenge, I’ve bonded with my colleagues, and I have developed a new habit of walking daily.
Suzanne Bonn, PhD, Faculty Lecturer, School of Continuing Studies
I do not consider myself a very active person and even if I know that to have a healthier lifestyle I should be more active, I had not found the motivation to get going until I was solicited to join the Healthier Together Challenge! This was the perfect challenge for me. First, it allowed me to set my own goals and second, being part of a team help keep me motivated. The fact that any activities performed mattered in the end (walking, house cleaning, shovelling snow, etc.) allowed me to see that I was more active than I thought and that it was easy to add various activities throughout the day to reach my goal. I have kept this going since the end of the challenge and intend to do so in the future!
What is the challenge?
Are you looking to increase your physical activity? Like so many, the pandemic poses additional barriers to fitting in time for movement and healthy behaviour. Organized into teams of 4 or more and competing against other McGill Teams, participants track their physical activity to help their team advance along a virtual racecourse.
Measure your well-being at the beginning and end of the challenge on: mood, stress, sleep, fitness and nutrition.
Each assessment includes complementary resources to educate the participant on that aspect of their health. These reading materials provide key information that is scientifically proven and currently recommended by health professionals. You will be provided with daily tips from the organizers to help you on your journey.
Track your progress and receive important feedback to support healthy behaviour change. A message board allows you to encourage your peers, and you can view how other McGill teams are doing.
You can record almost any type of movement! For example- you went sledding with your kids, vacuumed for 30 minutes, painted a room in your house, you removed snow from your entrance- these daily activities all count! The platform encourages many different types of physical activity and provides suggestions as to how you can incorporate more movement and make healthier choices.
The platform syncs with a wearable tracking device, but you can enter many different types of activities accurately and very easily into the platform without one. It take only a couple minutes to track each day!
As you and your team collect point, you will be able to see your team advance on a virtual map of Canada, compare your location to other teams, and reach various Canadian landmarks along the way.
You can easily go back in and enter your activity later, although it is encouraged to check-in briefly every day to check-in with your teams progress and connect with your teammates.