100-Day Dash

Gerald Dias joined Humana in November 2016 as a business consultant. Eight months later, he contributed 3.3 million steps to Humana associates’ total 16.6 billion steps during the company’s annual 100 Day Dash step competition. Gerald — shown above after a Color Run 5k — achieved the most steps out of all Dash participants, and boosted the total step count to be the largest since the Dash began in 2012.

Gerald, who is based in Milwaukee, Wis., was one of nearly 7,000 new Dashers this year. Participation and engagement has grown every year since the first Dash, further energizing Humana’s culture of well-being.

“Humana’s wellness culture has been a HUGE motivator in my life,” Gerald said. “I enjoy sharing my excitement for Humana, our culture and the amazing life we cultivate for our associates. It becomes contagious and it motivates others.”

The 2017 100 Day Dash wrapped up on July 10, with Dashers logging 8.3 million miles of steps – enough to circle Earth over 330 times. There were more than 23,000 total Dashers in 2017.

Nearly 6,000 associates reached personal bests. Co-workers like Gerald helped push them along.

“I sent congratulatory emails as teammates hit different achievements. To keep folks moving, I hosted several virtual 5K community challenges (on the Go365 platform). We did a High 5 5K on High 5 Day. We did a Cinco De Mayo 5K. We did a Red Nose Day 5K. And we did a National Selfie Day 5K. It was all tons of fun!”

Humana has found that when associates engage in the Dash, it brings support, comradery – and some healthy competition.

The Dash also partnered with the Humana Foundation for a third year. Because Humana associates exceeding last year’s step count, the Foundation is giving $16,000 to Feeding America, a network of food banks fighting against hunger in communities nationwide. Several other charitable organizations received smaller donations in honor of the Dashers who improved their step counts since 2016. Each individual personally selected which charitable cause would receive a donation on their behalf.

It seems certain that all of next year’s Dashers will be chasing Gerald.

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Three days before Humana’s 100 Day Dash in 2016, Jamie Edmonds, a Consumer Experience consultant in Phoenix, Ariz., had heart surgery to replace her aortic valve due to complications from a congenital heart defect. Jamie’s team was concerned about her and confused as to why she would still sign up for Humana’s annual step challenge.

“I told them not to worry, that I would make it to a million steps,” said Jamie. “A large part of recovering from heart surgery is walking. A couple days after surgery, I was well enough to start walking around the hospital so I had my husband bring me my Fitbit. I didn’t get many steps and what steps I did get around the ICU felt more exhausting than after I finished a marathon. Once I was discharged, my doctor’s orders were to walk, walk, walk. The Dash was truly my motivation to walk as much as I did during my recovery.”

After 100 days, Jamie had achieved her goal of one million steps and this year she has committed to go even farther and get 1.25 million steps.

Jamie won’t be alone. Forty-three percent of Humana associates participated in last year’s Dash, and that number is expected to grow once Dashers are tabulated. The Dash, which started April 2, is open to all associates and their adult dependents who participate in Go365, a wellness rewards program. Steps are tracked by pedometers or other fitness devices, and associates with physical disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from walking/running are participating in an alternative workout program. Accepting alternative workouts is a way to engage even more associates in the Dash and reflects Humana’s inclusive culture focused on well-being.

Jamie contributed one million hard fought steps to Humana’s total of 16 billion steps in 2016, half a billion more than in 2015. More than 9,000 associates who participated improved their step counts over 2015. Unhealthy Days have also declined for Humana associates – from 6.1 Unhealthy Days a month in 2012 to 5.2 in 2016.

The Dash has also partnered with the Humana Foundation for a third year. If Humana associates reach an overall step goal of 17 billion steps by the end of the Dash, the Humana Foundation will give $17,000 to a charity selected by associates. Make-A-Wish America was selected by associates in 2016 and received last year’s grant.

“I used to take physical activity for granted,” Jamie said. “My heart surgery and other health issues this past year completely changed my perspective. It used to be that ‘I have to run’ or ‘I have to get my steps in.’ Now it’s ‘I get to run’ and ‘I get to get my steps.’”

The 100 Day Dash runs through Monday, July 10.

“I used to take physical activity for granted,” Jamie Edmonds said. “My heart surgery and other health issues this past year completely changed my perspective.”
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Humana associates set a goal of taking 10 billion steps for the company’s third annual 100-Day Dash, a friendly competition that motivates individuals to improve their own health and well-being or inspire others to get up and get moving. This year’s 15,000 participants met that goal – and added another billion steps. The 11 billion-step total is 4 billion more than last year.

The number of participants in the 2014 competition, which was held August 8-November 25, also increased 30 percent over last year. Associates, who use pedometers or other wearable devices to track steps, can compete as individuals or form teams to win prizes, such as Vitality Bucks for those enrolled in the HumanaVitality incentive program. Participants find fun ways to boost their step total through challenges to each other, instituting walking meetings, running or walking in charitable events in their communities or even learning a few new dance steps.

Those who have taken part in the annual contest enjoy winning Vitality Bucks and other prizes, but say that the rewards they value most are losing weight and gaining energy and other overall health improvements as well as forming new friendships and building camaraderie among co-workers. Some report significant weight loss, running their first road race or share the ups and downs of their journey to better health through blogs.

The energy and commitment to become healthier doesn’t end with the contest. Many associates report a permanent shift to a healthier lifestyle, and will continue to show support for each other by instituting new fun challenges, such as the Healthy Holiday Hop.

Humana associates took 11 billion steps during the 100-Day Dash, an annual competition that is held to inspire a healthier lifestyle. (Photo by Lisa Huber)
Humana associates took 11 billion steps during the 100-Day Dash, an annual competition that is held to inspire a healthier lifestyle. (Photo by Lisa Huber)
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Humana’s dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being has fostered a corporate culture where Humana associates are willing to take steps to improve their own health – about 7.2 billion steps.

Humana associates logged that many steps on their pedometers during Humana’s recent 100-Day Dash, an annual company-wide effort to encourage associates to literally walk the talk in terms of promoting health and well-being. Associates form and choose names for their own teams, competing for rewards such as Vitality Bucks for those enrolled in the HumanaVitality incentive program. Every competing associate wears a pedometer and uploads the results, which are tallied into individual, team and company totals.

Overall, associates averaged 9,330 steps per day while the dashers at the top of the 100-Day Dash leaderboard managed 30,000 per day. Chastity Palmer, a specialist for Humana subsidiary LifeSynch in Irving, Texas said, “Being a part of the 100-Day Dash motivates me to get moving!”

“Over those 100 days, we inspired each other’s health by coming together through this friendly competition,” said Tim Huval, Humana Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Hearing the stories of how people are changing their lives – and enlisting their co-workers and families – is a great example of how we at Humana are living our values.”

From June 3 to September 10, 11,635 associates found numerous ways to get steps in. Some organized team walks during lunch breaks, others trained and competed in organized events in their communities.

“I did my first half-marathon ever,” said Humana MarketPoint coordinator Zoilabella Calo of Phoenix, AZ. “It was so inspiring!”

“We can all be proud of the steps we’ve taken together,” said Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, who participated in the Dash. “It’s great to be part of such an inspiring program that continues to grow each year. And I enjoyed being part of Team Inspire Health which really encouraged me to rethink my routine to get my steps in.”

Humana’s 7.2 billion-step total is enough to walk around the Earth 145 times and represents a 1.5 billion-step increase over the 100-Day Dash total for 2012.

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LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and Web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches will be contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.

Did you make a new year’s resolution to be more active? We are more than half way through the year so if you have stuck to it so far, congratulations and keep it up! If you stalled, it’s not too late to get back on track and meet the goals you set in January. It is easier to stay active if you make exercise fun rather than a chore. Healthy things can be fun, and fun things can be healthy. Here are 10 suggestions to get you started:

1. Join a team: Check out adult sport leagues offered in your area. There is usually something for everyone – from basketball and volleyball to kickball and dodge ball.

2. Get involved: Sign up for road races, biking events or fun walks. Some of these events also provide opportunities for helping others by raising money for charities.

3. Family fun: The whole family can enjoy interactive video games no matter the weather, skills, or fitness level. For example, Humana has partnered with leading video game developer Ubisoft to offer Your Shape®: Fitness Evolved 2012, a fun workout program to support healthy living for people of all fitness levels. And many cable providers offer exercise videos on demand free of charge.

4. Challenge yourself: If you are repeating the same easy workouts, you will cease to see results and become bored. If you run, try running a mile as fast as you can (without pain!) then try again two months later to see if you can beat your own time. You can do the same thing for pushups, holding a plank and so on. Reward yourself if you reach your goal!

5. Create a boot camp: Write out a list of things you can do for two minutes to raise your heart rate: push-ups, running in place, dancing, hula hooping or squats. Turn up the music and get a stop watch so you know when to rotate. Ask your kids to think of their own two-minute exercise ideas.

6. Start a friendly competition: Challenge your co-workers, friends or family to a contest that encourages you to increase your activity level and have fun doing it. For example, Humana associates are currently participating in their second 100-Day Dash, a companywide competition to track steps with a pedometer for 100 days. Learn more about how it works and the positive impact it has had by clicking here.

7. Help someone else succeed: Are you losing your commitment to walk three days a week? Invite a buddy along. Not only can you motivate someone else, you can re-energize yourself.

8. Check out your local parks: Take a nature walk with your kids and bring along a picnic basket for a fun, inexpensive meal.

9. Change your playlist: Find a new genre of music or add audio books and podcasts.

10. Make a game of it: Instead of sitting down to help your kids with their homework, take a walk while you quiz them – or make a game of it. For example, if they spell a word correctly, you have to run a lap around the house or do 10 jumping jacks. If they get it wrong, it is their turn!

Even small behavioral changes can make a big difference in your efforts to lead a healthier, happier life.

Lacey-pic-webLacey Starkey, a learning facilitator and personal health coach/mentor at LifeSynch, a subsidiary of Humana, has a bachelor’s degree in wellness science and a master’s degree in health education. She is also a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, exercising and staying active in her local community garden.

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