HealthTrails FAQ

What is HealthTrails?
HealthTrails is a holistic lifestyle program that draws on the excitement of seeing and learning about new places and people by tracing famous trails around the world.
How does it work?
Each time you record a HealthTrails activity you move along the trail. As you progress you’ll see great images and vivid descriptions of that location as if you’re right there. It’s a fun, effective way to track health habits because you actually see your progress each time you record. 
What is the goal of the program? 
Your goal is to travel 300+ virtual miles a week along one or more trails — you have 6 to choose from (with distances of 148-414 miles). If you record at least 30 minutes of exercise a day 5 days a week, plus 5 produce servings, sleep 7-9 hours a night, and/or meditate for 10 minutes each day, you’ll reach 300 miles easily! And you can add to your mileage by taking the daily Tip Test. Aim for at least 50 miles a week to achieve the goal in 6 weeks.
What health practices count toward the goal?
  • Exercise minutes — Choose a physical activity that elevates your heart rate, increases your breathing, and can be sustained for at least 30 minutes. You may record as many minutes as you’d like, but to encourage consistency a maximum of 90 minutes a day will count toward your movement on the trail.  
  • Produce servings — Select from a variety of colors to get the most fruits and vegetables have to offer — vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients — for better health. Aim for 5 or more vegetable servings a day. You may record as many vegetable servings as you’d like, but to encourage consistency a maximum of 6 a day will count toward your movement on the trail. (A serving equals 1 cup of fresh or cooked vegetables or 2 cups of leafy greens.)
  • Sleep - 7 - 9 hours a night.
  • Meditation - 10 minutes a day. 
Who can participate?
Yale University faculty, staff, graduate and professional students. HealthTrails gives you several ways to earn mileage and move along each trail. Consistency is rewarded over great athleticism or complex changes. Simple, everyday healthy habits produce the greatest benefits — and the most success in HealthTrails
If I have a disability can I still participate in HealthTrails?
Yes; the self-paced, flexible design which focuses on exercise minutes, versus steps, fits people of all abilities. If walking isn’t possible, be as active as you can in whatever ways you enjoy. If you’re unsure which activities are best, check with your healthcare provider. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability offers specific ideas. 
Is there a limit to the amount I can record each day?
Yes. To encourage consistency, each activity has a daily maximum. Click on the name of the activity in the Record Progress box to learn more.
How can I prepare for success in HealthTrails?
You can increase your odds of lasting success by gearing up for lifestyle change right now. To get started, check out Great Ways to Win at Wellness.
What is Trail Mates?
Trail Mates is a buddy feature where you can invite others to a friendly challenge or to offer support as they follow your progress. Your teammates are automatically your Trail Mates. 
What is Trail Talk?
With this interactive message board, you can inspire others, stay motivated, or simply view the posts of the HealthTrails expert. 
How does the team competition work?
Registration opens June 12; you may begin recording June 26. All teams must be formed by July 7. The challenge will end on August 6, but you may update activity until the team scores freeze on August 8. The goal of team participation is to reinforce healthy habits with a fun, friendly competition that emphasizes the overall goals of HealthTrails. Scores are based on the team’s average miles/day, not team total. Each person’s individual contribution affects the team score, so it’s best to form a team with those who will encourage and support each other along the way. 
Do I have to join a team or can I go it alone?
Team participation is optional. Although you can participate on your own, HealthTrails is even more fun when you’re on a team. And numerous studies show that you’re more likely to stick with healthy habits when supported by others. 
Can anyone start a team?  
Yes. After you register, click the Team link to get started and invite others to join. The person who starts the team is the team leader. Remember, teams consist of 4-8 members — yourself plus 3-7 others. Your team becomes official when at least 3 people accept the team leader’s invitation. 
Must all teams have 4-8 members?
Yes. A team is not official unless there are 4-5 members. Anyone who isn’t on an official team can still participate in HealthTrails as an individual, but will not be part of the team competition. 
Do team leaders have any special responsibilities?
To make sure at least 3 others register and accept your invitation to form an official team. Other than that, all team members are responsible for recording their own activity as well as encouraging and supporting each other in the HealthTrails journey. To have your activity count toward your team’s score, you must log activity by August 8. 
Do all team members have to be in the same location?
No; since it’s an online program, your teammates can be across the hall or around the world. There are some advantages to having teammates close by, but the most important thing is to recruit players who are supportive and motivated to be healthy.
Are there prizes for participating? 
Yes. Prizes will be awarded to the team that travels the farthest as noted on the leader board.  Additionally, prizes will be randomly awarded through a drawing to three of the top 30 teams that have traveled the farthest and randomly awarded to three individual participants.
What if I have questions about the program?
Use the Contact email link at the bottom of each page on the HealthTrails website. A HealthTrails representative will respond within 1 business day.