22 Push-up Challenge to Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide

There is a current challenge making its way through social media channels called the #22PushupChallenge. The idea is to raise awareness of the statistic that on average there are 22 veterans per day who commit suicide. Any number is too high (this article sheds some light on the truth).

A few years ago, the ALS challenge took the world by storm. People who had never heard of ALS now knew how devastating a disease it was. I discovered people who had loved ones with ALS that I never knew about. It was an Internet success in raising awareness, as well as millions of dollars. 

Now we have the #22PushupChallenge. The goal is to do 22 pushups for 22 days and nominate someone else each day to take on the challenge. (If you want me to nominate you, please see the note at the end of this post.) This is what should be posted with each photo or video:

This challenge is aimed toward raising awareness for mental health issues with which veterans struggle every day. On average, 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

1. Once you are nominated, your 22 days start the next day.
2. Every day record yourself doing push-ups and post on your public Facebook timeline with the hashtag #22pushups.
3. Every day you nominate a different person.
4. Have fun with it—get creative! This is a simple and fun way to get the word out about a serious issue facing these returning soldiers. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms only to get out and feel lost.

Some resources:
Please click on the links below to find out how you can help—the
Lone Survivor Foundation (http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org)
or The Headstrong Project (www.getheadstrong.org).
If you know of someone who is in need of help, please call 1-800-237-8255.

While this challenge isn’t raising money, simply bringing the increased prevalence of suicide (by anyone) to the forefront of our minds can hopefully ignite organizations and governments to do more to address the psychological causes. 

I was nominated by Tamar Berger of Off Road Indoor Cycling and have been doing my 22 push-ups on Facebook Live. Here is one of my first ones:

[video_player type=”url” placeholder=”https://indoorcyclingassociation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-24-at-10.28.07-AM.png” url1=”” url2=”” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaW5kb29yY3ljbGluZ2Fzc29jaWF0aW9uLmNvbS93cC1jb250ZW50L3VwbG9hZHMvMjAxNi8wOC9qZW5uaWZlcl9wdXNodXBzLm1wNA==[/video_player]

I nominated ICA contributor Bill Roach, who had the idea to ask his class if they would do the push-ups with him. What a great idea! Here is his account of what happened on the first day. 

Jennifer challenged me to the 22 push-up challenge and I accepted on behalf of the four indoor cycling classes I teach each week.  
Each class has embraced the idea. In fact, I think I’ve had 100% participation, or about 40 students during this slower time of the year. Also, I’ve added my personal training clients to the challenge.
Only one or two of my students had heard of the challenge. The rest were shocked to learn that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.  
In each class, I made the announcement of my intention before class. I made clear that it was a voluntary activity and that people could do their push-ups any way they liked. I described options for toes, knees, wall, and also for “air push-ups.” I provided website information for anyone who wanted to pass the challenge along to others. We concluded the class with our normal post-ride stretching and then took positions around the room on the floor, or at one of the walls.
All my classes replied enthusiastically. I was proud of them. The most interesting reaction came from my “Cycle for Neuro Wellness” class. This class is made up of people with Parkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions.  
I felt a special beauty from my neuro class participants because of their ready willingness to empathize with the condition of troubled veterans. When someone is engaged in a major health challenge, like Parkinson’s, it’s possible to become focused on their own condition to the exclusion of other people’s problems. My class leaped at the chance to step outside their own concerns to engage enthusiastically on behalf of someone else.
I thank all the wonderful people in my classes for reaching out to embrace this challenge with genuine enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. 

[video_player type=”url” placeholder=”https://indoorcyclingassociation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-24-at-10.12.09-AM.png” url1=”” url2=”” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaW5kb29yY3ljbGluZ2Fzc29jaWF0aW9uLmNvbS93cC1jb250ZW50L3VwbG9hZHMvMjAxNi8wOC95bWNhX3B1c2h1cHMubXA0[/video_player]

Who else wants to be nominated?

I still have a little less than two weeks left in my challenge, and I’m looking for people to nominate. I’d like to select people I know will actually do the work. You do NOT have to do full push-ups…they can be on the knees or against a wall or on an incline (like a bench or a box). If you’d like, you can do something as creative as Bill and challenge your class to do them with you, maybe just on one day.

If you want me to nominate you, leave a comment below or contact me via Facebook through the ICA FB page.



  1. Hello Jennifer,
    This is Susan East from Nesbit, MS and you can nominate me to do the 22 push up challenge with you.

    1. Author

      absolutely. Go to my ICA FB page (or personal page) and leave your name in the comments so I can link to you when I nominate you! Thanks!

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