It’s a high-stress day at the office in downtown Detroit. Your neck’s tense from hours working under a project deadline you barely met, and you’re still wound up. What you crave is physical activity far beyond the cubicle, but the nearest gym’s not in sight.
As you exit the parking garage, like a bright light, the skyline of the city’s fabulous riverfront draws you near. A healthy oasis amid worn concrete, it beckons you, almost glimmering: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s “Walk the Riverfront” campaign is in full swing, with about 800 professionals striding the scenic waterside for exercise.
The weekly, lunch-time gathering’s one of the healthcare provider’s ongoing initiatives to generate healthy buzz and give new meaning to the old hymn’s title, “Shall We Gather at the River?”
After working late, or going home to throw on sweats, you can “bling out” in a neon necklace, grab a glow stick, and strike a pose at “Moonlight Yoga,” one of downtown’s coolest-ever concepts combining mental focus with physical activity. Or head east a little ways along the water and you won’t have trouble finding Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “Fit Park,” an outdoor gym equipment installation in the Dequindre Cut jogging trail, abutting the riverside. It’s all free, courtesy of one of the state’s major healthcare providers, in partnership with Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.
Later, as you head back to the office, reenergized after one of these stimulating outdoor activities, replete with friendly smiles and gazes at passing boats, you’re glad you skipped the gym – you’ve taken a membership in metro Detroit’s fitness community without ever showing a credit card.
And, that’s the idea, according to Bridget Hurd, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s director of community responsibility, who reminds us it’s important when it comes to fitness, it’s good to keep activities simple and fun.
Photos by Tim Galloway