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This Move More Month, a Blue Shield Executive Shares Her Fitness Transformation

Hope Scott, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Blue Shield of California, made big changes to live a more active lifestyle.

Each April, the American Heart Association observes Move More Month, encouraging all Americans to take part in physical activity and do so on a more regular basis. Hope Scott, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Blue Shield of California shares her personal fitness journey and how she has taken on a more active lifestyle.

Scott remembers being an active person when she lived in San Francisco before the pandemic. She belonged to a gym across the street from her house, and was only a mile away from the office, so she would often bike or walk to work. Once Blue Shield opened its headquarters in Oakland in November 2019, she started splitting her time between Oakland and San Diego, going on urban hikes when she could and exploring new bike trails. Then, the world came to a halt. 

With a name like "Hope," it’s hard not to be an optimist. But the pandemic was able to shift the mindset of even those with the most positive outlook. “I found myself becoming very sedentary. At one point we weren’t even allowed to walk along the beach paths in San Diego, as we were told to stay inside,” she said.

Between the strict COVID protocols and the extreme winter rainy season, Scott was stationary in the house like most of her fellow Californians. Eventually, California reopened, and Scott scheduled her annual physical with her doctor where she received some unwelcome, but not totally unexpected, news. “My physician pointed at the number on the scale and asked me, ‘How long has THIS been going on?!’ I didn’t realize I had gained quite so much weight," she said. "My doctor was concerned and counseled that I was at increased risk for all kinds of diseases like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.”

Scott’s doctor wanted to put her on medication to help prevent these chronic illnesses. But she had an alternate solution — Scott asked her doctor to give her three months to try to change her lifestyle, and asked what she recommended as a fitness plan. Scott also committed to changing her diet — nothing extreme, just healthier eating.

“I told my doctor I didn’t feel as strong as I used to and that my balance was awful, so she recommended high-intensity interval training,” said Scott. “This was perfect, as a new gym facility was opening nearby that focused on heart rate-based interval training. This fitness center also has studios around the world, so I can continue my workout routine wherever I travel. The 60-minute classes include working out on treadmills, rowing machines and a floor/weight circuit, always with a cool-down stretching block to finish.”

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Scott started going to fitness classes twice a week, and said it was tough. Over time, she worked her way up to taking classes six days a week (three days of class followed by one recovery day). When she started her journey, walking 3 miles per hour was a challenge. Now, 16 months and 50-plus pounds lighter, Scott’s base running pace is 5.5 miles per hour, topping out at 7 miles per hour for sprints. Scott says some of the best things about her fitness center are the supportive community and caring coaches who work with members to continuously improve as their fitness levels increase.

“Since I started my fitness journey, I feel great and have lots of energy," she said. "I love to travel and to be active, and I don’t want my health to be a limiting factor in anything I do. I always say that if you have your health, you can do anything. I’m going to continue to do everything in my control to maximize my potential for living an active and healthy life.”

And if changing her lifestyle for her own health reasons wasn’t enough motivation, Scott just welcomed her first grandchild in February — a Leap Day baby! Now feeling fit and strong, she looks forward to a future full of time spent teaching, playing and traveling with her granddaughter.

The American Heart Association wants to remind people that fitness and health journeys can often times be frustrating, but they don’t always have to be. Here are some tips they offer to help with lifestyle changes:

  • Fit in 150: Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity.
  • Move more, sit less: Get up and move throughout the day. Any activity is better than none.
  • Add intensity: Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
  • Add muscle: Include moderate-to high intensity muscle strengthening activity twice a week.
  • Feel better: Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your body and brain healthy.

For Blue Shield members, our award-winning digital health platform Wellvolution now offers three musculoskeletal health programs that can help with fitness and strength at no cost. This included SworkIt, which is a mobility and exercise app for everyone. Read more about these offerings here