Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees in five states stepped out for healthy living during April’s Million Mile Month.
HealthCode’s Million Mile Month is a yearly challenge to complete one million miles of physical activity collectively as a global community in the month of April. In 2017, about 1.35 million miles were completed worldwide with participants logging miles through the activity of their choice – from walking to swimming to yoga –on the Million Mile Month website.

About 1,600 employees from Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Montana and Oklahoma participated in Million Mile Month that ended on April 30.

HealthCode launched the Million Mile Month in 2014 to help encourage individuals to take an active role in their health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has participated with Million Mile Month since its inception in 2014.

This year, the company expanded the program across additional Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, said Alexis Penn, senior health and wellbeing specialist for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

“The whole goal was to get people involved,’’ Penn said. “And now we’re on the leaderboard.’’

Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company of the five Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, came in second of organizations on the Million Mile Month 2017 leaderboard with more than 123,000 total miles.

Whether it is an employer fostering a culture of wellness or an individual wanting to stay motivated, the goal of Million Mile Month is designed to encourage people to take control of their health and embrace a lifestyle of physical activity and healthy eating.

Dan Detar, manager of advertising sponsorships with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, said the company got involved with Million Mile Month in 2014 as part of an initiative with the Houston Astros to prevent childhood obesity. More than 200 employees participated that first year, Detar said.

“It was a fun and easy way for employees to be more active while raising awareness of child obesity,’’ Detar said.

Penn said some Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees got involved with Million Mile Month to jump-start an exercise program. For others, it was about the competition and “where am I in the stats?”

Penn said: “It’s about motivation. Challenges like this are fun.”

Penn said the five Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are planning to participate in HealthCode’s upcoming challenges this year – the upcoming Triathlon in a Month in July and Marathon in a Month in October.

Throughout the year, Penn is encouraging employees to continue to use the HealthCode activity platform to log their activities and stay motivated.

“We will continue to stress to our employees that if you are logging your time, keep doing it,’’ Penn said. “Make it happen.’’

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