Getting in shape and staying healthy don't have to involve hours in the gym. In fact, just as important as what you do during your workout is what you do the other 23 hours of the day.
Especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk all day or need some motivation to get more active, why not join the LIVESTRONG.COM team for the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge? We're kicking things off May 1, 2019, and going through the whole month.
Why 10,000 Steps a Day?
There's nothing inherently magical about the number 10,000 in and of itself; it's more about what it represents. Namely, getting out of your seat and walking around.
Originally, though, the number 10,000 came from a Japanese pedometer first marketed in the 1960s, according to UC Davis Integrative Medicine. The devices were called "manpo-kei," which translates to 10,000-step meter.
But since that time, science has confirmed some benefits of walking more throughout the day. A 2000 study from the journal Hypertension Research showed that people who took 10,000 steps a day had lower blood pressure. And a 2003 study published in Preventative Medicine found that it improved glucose tolerance.
On the other hand, a study from a 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who only walked 5,000 steps were more likely to have poor cardiometabolic health, which can heighten the risk of diabetes, heart disease and/or stroke.
And a 2017 study from the International Journal of Obesity found a link between more time spent sedentary and larger waist circumferences and increased risk for coronary heart disease.
Read more: How to Burn More Calories Walking
What Does This Challenge Look Like?
The purpose of this challenge is to get you moving! Every day is about being as active as possible, with a goal of walking at least 10,000 steps a day (or more!). You can track this with a fitness tracker you wear on your wrist or through your smartphone.
Then check out the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group for details on weekly challenges. Here's a sneak peek:
Week 1: Walk Just a Little Bit More
For week 1 of the 10,000 steps challenge, get a baseline for how much you walk a day, and then challenge yourself to walk just a little bit more. This is a great way to warm up to the challenge.
Week 2: Find a Creative Way to Log More Steps
During week 2 of the challenge, we'll give some tips and ideas for walking more during the day and ask you to chime in with your own creative tips.
Week 3: Get Your Friends and Co-Workers Involved
To celebrate week 3, invite your friends, family member or co-workers to join you! That might mean taking the kids for a walk around the neighborhood, asking your co-worker to take a lunchtime walk with you or setting up your own challenge with your family.
Week 4: Amp Up the Step Challenge
It's the last week of the challenge, so let's see just how active you can be! Try to set a PR for steps in a day. Don't go crazy (most of us still have jobs and family to attend to), but see how many steps you can take in a day.
Read more: Can Walking Be Enough to Reduce Obesity?
How to Join the 10,000 Steps Challenge
1. Find some way to measure your daily steps. There are a lot of fitness trackers out there that you can either wear on your wrist or clip to your clothes. If you don't want to shell out the money for an expensive wearable that you may or may not use after the challenge, most smartphones will track your daily steps (as long as you carry it with you throughout the day, of course).
2. Join the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group. We'll be posting lots of helpful info and tips, answering all your questions and connecting you to other members of the community who are joining you for the challenge.
3. Post your progress to the group. Keep the rest of the community updated with your daily walking by posting screenshots of your step-counting app or photos of your fitness tracker or what you saw on your daily walk. Maybe you walked through the park at lunch or took a hike over the weekend. We want to see it!