Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Announce Details of a New Partnership to Promote Physical Fitness and Healthy Living

Blue Cross supports new program with $1 million pledge to health and wellness on the riverfront


DETROIT, May 2, 2014 -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy announced the details today of a multi-year partnership that will promote physical fitness and healthy living initiatives through a series of free activities along the riverfront.  Blue Cross has pledged $1 million in support of the new programming over the coming years to make the new activities possible for all riverfront goers to enjoy.


Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Matthew P. Cullen, chairman of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Board of Directors, provided the highlights of the new “Live the Riverfront” program at a riverfront press conference held at Rivard Plaza.   Live the Riverfront highlights include a Wednesday lunchtime summertime walking program, a 5K/10K walk/run, weekly fitness classes and the construction of a riverfront fitness park in 2015.


The press conference also served as a celebration of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s statewide Walk@Lunch Day, which encourages workers from throughout Michigan to get healthy and walk during lunch or scheduled breaks.  Loepp and Cullen led several hundred workers and residents from throughout downtown Detroit on a ceremonial walk through of William G. Milliken State Park following the announcement.


The Live the Riverfront partnership allows the Conservancy to reach new audiences and continue to provide programming that keeps the riverfront vibrant and engaging for visitors.  As the presenting sponsor of Live the Riverfront, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan once again reinforces its commitment to the community by partnering with the Conservancy to promote healthy living and physical fitness through a variety of initiatives.


“We are very pleased that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy have formed this strategic partnership,” said Matt Cullen, Chairman, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.  “It allows both organizations to reach new audiences and to provide riverfront visitors with programming and special event offerings that encourage them to spend time outside, become more active and get healthy,” added Cullen.

“As a company that is deeply committed to Detroit, Blue Cross is proud to join the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy in making one of the city’s jewels an even more attractive and fun place to visit,” Loepp said. “We look forward to working together to make the RiverWalk an even stronger regional attraction and a place where people can easily embrace good health.”

Highlights of the Live the Riverfront initiative include:  


Walk the RiverWalk Wednesdays

Walk the RiverWalk Wednesdays is a no-cost summer walking initiative designed to foster a sense of wellness among people living and working in downtown Detroit, and is open to anyone interested in participating.  Over the course of 16 weeks, starting May 7, registered participants are encouraged to visit the riverfront on Wednesdays to walk during the lunch hour or during scheduled breaks.


Participants check in via an online portal to record progress and to receive a free BCBSM-branded health-related item for every third check in.  The initiative kicks off on May 7, proving all registered participants with a pedometer to track and log their progress.  Other healthy incentives include a T-shirt, drawstring bag, water bottle and a health massager.  At the program’s conclusion on August 20, all participants who checked in eight or more times are eligible for a drawing of Detroit RiverFront Conservancy prizes, including memberships, engraved paver bricks along the waterfront and tickets to the Organization’s annual fundraiser gala, Shimmer on the River. 


For more information or to register, visit


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Riverfront Run/Walk

The much-anticipated Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Riverfront Run/Walk replaces the Conservancy’s popular waterfront River Days Run.  Held June 14, this event showcases the Detroit riverfront and takes participants along the RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut Greenway.  Building upon the success of four previous races, this event is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants. 


The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Riverfront Run/Walk includes both a 5K and a 10K run/walk.  The top three finishers in each male and female age group will receive medals, with all participants receiving a performance T-shirt and a wristband that is good for a one-day admission to the Conservancy’s upcoming Detroit River Days festival, held the weekend of June 20-22.  Registration for the 5K run/walk is $30 per participant.  The 10K is $40 per person.


For more information or to register, visit


Weekly Fitness Classes

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy encourage potential participants to try something new and engage both mind and body by attending free weekly Yoga and Tai Chi classes at Rivard Plaza, starting June 2 and running through late August.  Over the years, these classes have become extremely popular among fitness goers, and have drawn participants of all ages and skill levels.  


Presented in partnership with Urban Solace, Yoga classes will be held twice a week from June 2 through August 22.  Tai Chi classes will be held once a week through the week of August 18.


No registration is necessary for the Yoga and Tai Chi classes.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own Yoga mats.


Riverfront Fit Park

In 2015, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will unveil a free outdoor public workout space along the riverfront consisting of stationary, permanently installed equipment, similar to other such spaces gaining popularity throughout the world.


The Riverfront Fit Park will offer a diverse program of exercise and wellness instruction, with the potential for including circuit workouts and boot camps.  Details for the park, including the location and the specific type of equipment that will be featured, are currently being finalized.


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), physical activity and wellness play a major role in preventing health issues.

  • Only about 30 percent of adult Americans report getting regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all
  • 1/3 of premature deaths in the U.S. are attributable to poor nutrition and physical inactivity
  • The CDC estimates that if all physically inactive Americans became active, we would save $92 billion in annual medical costs
  • Inactivity was associated with more than 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2001, at an estimated direct medical cost of nearly $24 billion