Parkview Health Logo

More participants, more motivation to move

Last Modified: May 19, 2024

Sports & Exercise

group workout

This post was written by Kelsie Duehmig, wellness coach, Workplace Wellness, Parkview Employer Solutions.  

We all know we should be getting in the recommended movement each week, but staying motivated can be challenging. If you’re looking for a fresh approach to fitness, consider group exercise or take it a step further and organize a health challenge. Here’s how to get started and why …

Benefits of group exercise

Group exercise classes offer a safe environment for exercise, with the added benefits of accountability, encouragement and social connection. Classes can also be an opportunity to encourage confidence and improve self-esteem, especially if you’re new to group workout classes and/or exercise in general.

Most workout classes are led by certified group exercise instructors who teach the correct form and encourage participants throughout the class. Group exercise classes are offered for every fitness level, which is often indicated in the class description. You will be more likely to succeed if you start within your appropriate activity level and move up when the instructor believes you’re ready.  

Group exercise classes are a great option if you like to schedule your workouts or only have a set amount of time to dedicate to movement.

Benefits of health and fitness challenges

Health and fitness challenges promote unity, fellowship, healthy competition and healthy habits. Whether you’re competing as an individual or part of a team, these opportunities spark a lot of motivation and bring participants together to create bonds over success and barriers.

Anatomy of a health and fitness challenge

While the rules and details of a specific health challenge are really unlimited, most have the same elements.


The overall intention of the challenge should be to promote wellness in some capacity. In a more abstract sense, you want as many participants as possible to create comradery and fuel motivation through friendly competition.

From there, you can map out the specifics. Do participants need to complete a certain activity? How will that be measured? Do they need an accountability partner? What criteria determine the winner?


The organizer needs to determine the duration of the challenge. It could be seasonal, a month, a few weeks or a few days. This is an important aspect because it should be long enough for participants to create habits but not so long that they lose interest.


Have a designated person or group that promotes the challenge and offers support throughout. They could create group meeting opportunities like weekly walks or runs. Or simply send out emails or texts to remind and encourage participants. It’s always a good idea to have someone making sure that everyone is being honest as well.


Create a fun document to keep track of everyone’s progress. There are free programs online with premade templates for this purpose. This is a huge part of keeping participants motivated and can generate a lot of excitement around progress.


Establishing a prize for the winner is an important aspect of any competition. Some suggestions could be:

  • Trophy – If the challenge is done in a workplace, the department or person who wins could receive a trophy. Once a new winner is named for the next challenge, it will go to them.
  • Wellness item – This could be a water bottle, gift card to a local sporting goods store, company apparel, or some other prize that promotes self-improvement, like a massage gun, smartwatch, yoga mat, spa treatment or kitchen gadget like a smoothie blender.
  • Group prizes – Outdoor team building adventure or healthy meal. Gym memberships would also be a strong motivator.
  • Financial prize – Maybe the company does not deduct insurance from employees' paychecks for that month or contributes to their health savings accounts.

Ready for a challenge? Here are some ideas

Now that you know the general elements of a fitness challenge, here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling for you!

Maintain, Don’t Gain – There are certain times of the year when it’s harder to avoid the pitfalls of treats and missed workouts.  The holidays are the most common. Consider kicking off a challenge around Halloween or Thanksgiving and taking it through January 1.  

Well-being Bingo – Create a bingo board with wellness challenges varying in difficulty. People love this one because it gives them the power to choose their own adventure.

Sports Parent Step Up – It’s difficult for parents with busy kids to prioritize movement. Create teams with parents of children in sports and see who can get the most steps during practices and games.

Book Club – Every challenge doesn’t have to involve physical fitness. Pick a book with a wellness focus and have the group create a challenge after completing the book. The winner gets to pick the next book club selection.  

Fit Family Showdown – Pinpoint an aspect of well-being your family needs to improve upon. This could be less screen time, more activity or journaling. Decide on the parameters and may the best family member win!

Gym-tastic – Pull together a group of workout friends from your local gym and challenge each other to get in the most hours at the gym, make it to group class consistently or reach the most steps.

Some things to keep in mind

Remember that a challenge should promote healthy habits and encourage positive change, not make anyone feel bad or criticized. Be sensitive to inclusion, adaptability and messaging in these respects. Create opportunities for privacy, if appropriate (weight, health information, personal obstacles) and be sure no one feels pressured to participate.

There are many wellness trends and influencers online and in our social media feeds. Be careful when choosing goals. Avoid any activities that might promote negative thoughts or behaviors, and lean on trusted sources like certified personal trainers, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), certified exercise physiologists and healthcare professionals. Never suggest challenges that could put people in danger or expose them to hazardous products.

Make sure that participants have a way to communicate and stay connected, such as a group in Microsoft Teams or social media. Be sure someone is monitoring the conversation in these groups to address or remove any comments that could derail the healthy goals and intentions of the challenge. A positive community is always best.

Help employees achieve wellness goals  

Parkview Employer Solutions partners with area businesses, delivering innovative services to improve the health and well-being of employees. Workplace Wellness provides resources for local businesses to create a healthier workforce, including health risk assessments, wellness coaching, health improvement programs, wellness screenings and more. Contact Parkview Employer Solutions to develop a wellness program that benefits your company, your employees and your community. 


Related Blog Posts

View all posts