Getting and staying active doesn't have to involve gym memberships, fancy equipment or complicated exercises. It can be as simple as walking. Moving around is vital to your physical and mental health — especially if you find yourself sitting a lot during the day.
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Plus, what you do for the majority of your day is just as important — if not more so — than what you do in your workouts. To help keep you committed to walking more throughout your day, join the LIVESTRONG.com team for the Daily Steps Challenge.
Your Goals for This Challenge
- Aim to walk at least 7,500 to 10,000 steps every day.
- Take a 30-minute walk at least 5 times a week.
Why 7,500 to 10,000 Daily Steps?
The idea that you should take 10,000 steps a day is now practically wellness gospel, nearly as universal as the idea that you should drink 8 glasses of water daily. But there's actually nothing inherently special about that number. It's more what it represents — namely, getting out of your seat and moving.
So don't worry if you can't reach 10,000 steps each day. The health benefits of walking — including improved mood, better heart health and stronger knees — level off at about 7,500 steps a day, according to a May 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study.
And remember that the intensity of your walks matters, too. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking each week. That's why we've made it part of the challenge to take a 30-minute walk at least five times a week.
How to Join the Daily Steps Challenge
Step 1: Find a Way to Measure Your Daily Steps
You can wear a fitness tracker on your wrist, clip a pedometer to your clothes or carry your phone with you to count your steps. If your smartphone doesn't come with a built-in health app to monitor your movement, try downloading a walking app for free.
Step 2: Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
Our community of more than 48,000 members is here to support and motivate you through this challenge. Share your progress by posting screenshots of your step-counting app, photos of your fitness tracker or views from your daily walk — or simply tell the group how the day went.
Step 3: Start Wherever You Are
If you already use a pedometer or other step tracker, check how many steps you're currently taking on an average day. If you're not tracking steps, use the first day of the challenge to get an idea of how much you're walking without really pushing yourself.
Step 4: Find Creative Ways to Log More Steps
No matter your baseline number, focus on walking a little more each day. Swap your water bottle for a small glass so you have to get up more often to refill it, or park farther away when you're running errands. These and other creative ways to take more steps can help you reach your daily goals.
Program your wearable to remind you to get up and move when you’ve been sitting still for 20, 30 or 60 minutes. Or set an alarm on your phone for the top of every hour and take a quick walk around the block, the floor or the room.
Step 5: Grab a Friend
Stay accountable by teaming up with a walking buddy. An April 2017 study in Nature Communications found that exercising was, essentially, contagious: People with fit and active friends were more likely to be fit and active themselves.
Consider recruiting at least one person to join you for this challenge — either physically or virtually. Encourage them to join our Challenge Facebook Group so they can connect with our entire community.
Step 6: Celebrate Your Success
As the month goes on, look back at your baseline and congratulate yourself for the progress you've made!
Then, if you're up for it, consider trying a new challenge next month, such as:
You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you're ready, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we have planned for the full year.
- UC Davis Integrative Medicine: "What About 10,000 Steps a Day?"
- The BMJ: "Physical activity trajectories and mortality: population based cohort study"
- Mayo Clinic Proceedings: "Comparative Relevance of Physical Fitness and Adiposity on Life Expectancy"
- International Journal of Obesity: "Time Spent in Sedentary Posture Is Associated With Waist Circumference and Cardiovascular Risk"
- JAMA Internal Medicine: "Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"