The Best and Worst Fitness Challenges You Can Do In 2022

How to make fitness goals that actually improve your health.

January 31, 2022

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Photo by: The Good Brigade/Getty Images

The Good Brigade/Getty Images

Whether you're looking to lose weight, reduce stress or finally do a pull-up, fitness challenges can be a great way to help you reach goals. However, not all challenges are created equal. Some health and fitness challenges aren't rooted in science or nutrition guidelines and can actually cause more harm than good. The best wellness challenges generally involve gradual progress with a healthy, attainable goal. Here, a registered dietitian and certified athletic trainer shares her list of the best and worst health and fitness goals this year.

The Best Health and Fitness Challenges

Stretching Every Day

More exercise should also mean more recovery. No matter how you like to move, proper stretching can contribute to improvements in total body flexibility, strength and blood flow which all leads to a reduced risk of injury. Carve out a few minutes every day to stretch.

Running a 5K

A wonderful way to get motivated and literally up off the couch is the goal of running a 5K. This type of running progression can benefit newbie exercisers as well as those that exercise regularly, but don’t often run. Programs like Runkeeper and Nike have user-friendly programs and corresponding apps.

Improving Hydration

Demands for fluid increase with physical activity and those who sweat more profusely need to replenish more. Make a commitment to staying more hydrated will only benefit your workouts and your overall health.

Perfecting a Push Up

There are so many ways to do a push up – and so many more ways to do them completely wrong. Work towards getting that perfect push up – modify as needed to accommodate any orthopedic issues – and benefit your upper body, lower body and core in just one exercise. Work with a trainer or look for videos from a reliable source, such as a physical therapist or credentialed strength and conditioning professional, to work on your form.

Learn to Foam Roll

Take your exercise goals even further by utilizing a foam roller. Tthis easy and affordable tool can help with all kinds of soft tissue issues. There is also scientific evidence to support that using that roller can also help you warm up for exercise and prevent muscle soreness afterwards.

Doing a Pull Up

A pull up (aka chin up) requires a great deal of upper body and core strength to do correctly and despite how simple it looks, it really is more of an advanced move. The help of exercise bands to offset some weight can help you work towards getting that chin up and over the bar unassisted but you are more likely to reach goals on the chin up bar by committing to a total body strength training routine.

The Worst Health and Fitness Challenges and Goals

Working Out 7 Days a Week

New Year’s revelers love to commit to an unrealistic amount of exercise, only to get injured or burned out (or both). You don’t get credit or long term results by biting off more than you can physically chew. Further point deductions if you are forcing a type of exercise you don’t enjoy!

Influencer Workouts

A big following does not an exercise expert make. Scantily clad influencers “shreds,” “challenges,” and “hourglass” plans promote more negative body image and diet culture than a healthy lifestyle. While all the recos may not be horrible, skip franchises with influencers who don't offer any credentials and opt for advice from credentialed professionals like Ben Bruno, Jen Comas and Ranfone Training Systems.

75 Hard

This viral sensation clearly (and aggressively) states it is “not a fitness program,” yet mandates followers to exercise for two (yes, two), 45 minute sessions, for 75 days straight — with little additional guidance. Tough talk can’t hide how downright silly 75 Hard really is.

Getting Abs

Probably the most ridiculous (and misguided) workout goal is anything that involves focusing on vanity instead of fitness. Here’s what qualified fitness experts know extremely well: If you are target training by doing endless sit ups to “get abs” you are wasting your time — and likely to end up with some neck or back problems. Focusing on overall core stability isn’t as sexy, but certainly more beneficial in the long run.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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