Friday, July 6, 2012

Getting Healthy, One Step at a Time

Like most of you probably did, I celebrated America’s birthday by spending some much needed time with family and friends. A day in the middle of the work week to recharge and reconnect isn’t such a bad idea!

One of my favorite things to do is walk, alone. But since we were all together I decided to invite my husband and sons to walk with me. To my surprise, not only were we pounding the pavement, we were also pounding out the problem of the day. Conversation flowed easily, solutions were simple and the family bonding was a welcome side effect to putting one foot in front of the other.

As we were approaching a mile, I observed something pretty spectacular: while it may be difficult going that extra distance when I’m walking alone or on the treadmill, somehow logging extra steps isn’t so hard when I’m in good company. Then I began to think about how cool it would be to get my UnitedHealthcare team walking with me.

At UnitedHealthcare, this is something we understand – getting healthy is much more manageable, and enjoyable, when we can do it together – or against each other! The trick is finding the time, the right tool and the right level of engagement. So using pedometers, powered by the OptumizeMe fitness-challenge mobile app, I challenged my team to keep track of how many days they walked or ran between now and Labor Day. We’re calling it “Our Best Foot Forward Challenge.” The top movers will be entered into a random drawing to win a grand prize (yet-to be-determined).

I’ve blogged about UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to making health care easier and more accessible for its plan participants by creating apps for physicians and individuals. The OptumizeMe app is a great collaboration tool that helps motivate people by making physical activity a social experience. It allows employers to set up challenges for employees at all levels of health and fitness, increasing employee engagement in a culture of health and building loyalty--both to the employer and to employee health goals. We’re excited to offer such innovative technology to our employees to help make their lives better.

According to an article in the July 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, healthy (and not so healthy) behavior actually spreads through social connections. Exercise does not have to be a chore or a solitary run or walk around the block. If we all encourage each other, staying fit can be a fun part of our everyday lives.

If you want more information about OptumizeMe, visit If you’d like to join my team challenge, download the app, grab your walking shoes and put your best foot forward!

UnitedHealthcare employees are putting their "Best Foot Foward"


  1. Hi Sue,

    I noticed that you started following me on twitter(that's how I found your blog). Thank you for the follow. I look forward in reading your future posts. I also looked up your LinkedIn profile and noticed that we have Sally Solis-Cohen as a common connection (I was going to suggest getting on their CEO show due to your geography(I am guessing you already have).

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the recent health care act that passed. How does that impact patients, hospitals and our economy?

    Back in the day, I used to run a commercial division of Glaxo Wellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline) in the UK with a $300M revenue responsibility.

    Hope you are having a great week and look forward to your thoughts.

    Amir (wadvisor on twitter and LinkedIn)

  2. Hi Amir,

    You're welcome for the follow. If you are referring to our local Executive Leaders Radio, yes, I've participated. UnitedHealthcare announced a number of health reform initiatives that we would continue to provide like no life-time limits, coverage for children on their parents plans until age 26 and no co-pay for preventive care. Thanks for checking out my blog. Best, Sue.