Spring into Motion, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s (BCBSNE) latest wellness challenge, harnesses the power of fitness trackers, smartphones and spring sunshine to encourage physical activity.

Spring into Motion is an eight-week wellness challenge kicking off Monday, May 6. Participants will track their daily steps and activities using a fitness tracker and smartphone app to earn points based on activities for the day.

Tracking daily steps brings awareness to the amount of activity – or lack thereof – people are getting, said Kathy Nellor, BCBSNE wellness services manager.

“It can help motivate you to plan time to get more activity and start doing little things, like taking the stairs, parking your car further from the door or making your next meeting a walking meeting,” Nellor said. “All of these things add up to getting more steps and more activity in your day.”

During Spring into Motion, the more steps a participant takes, the more points they can earn per day:

• 6,000 to 7,999 steps = three points
• 8,000 to 9,999 steps = four points
• 10,000+ steps = five points

The goal of the challenge is to earn 15 points per week for a final total of 120 points.

Using a fitness tracker buddy system can create a social support network, foster competition and hold people accountable, according to a John Hopkins Medicine article. At BCBSNE, a leaderboard tracking top challenge participants and the option to join a team of four to five aims to accomplish all three.

A little friendly competition is what BCBSNE employee and challenge participant Derek Wakefield looks forward to most. Wakefield hasn’t had much luck using fitness trackers in the past.

“I usually end up losing them when exercising or at races or they get damaged by water,” Wakefield said.

But Wakefield will rely on his smartphone’s health app to track his daily activities during the challenge.

If participants need ideas for staying active outdoors this spring, Nellor suggests going for a walk, working in the garden, riding a bike or joining a recreational sports team, all of which can improve participants’ health.

“Being more physically active in your day can boost your mood, strengthen your heart, lower your risk of chronic conditions and manage your weight,” Nellor said.

For more articles like this one, visit the health and wellness tab.