Welcome to the first week of the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge! You've made the commitment to getting and staying active through making tiny adjustments to your daily activity level, and we're so happy to have you join us.
Depending on your current lifestyle, 10,000 steps may seem to be an unreachable goal or like something you accomplish each day before lunch. Either way, you can benefit from this challenge.
If you're currently sedentary, just focus on walking a little more each day and work your way up to 10,000. If you're already walking that much, maintain those efforts and add something new to the routine to keep yourself challenged and engaged.
Get the Most From the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge
1. Log a baseline. If you're currently using a pedometer or other kind of fitness tracker, check how many steps you're currently taking a day on average. If you're not using a pedometer, use the first day of the challenge to get an idea of how much you're walking. Save that number for the end of the challenge to track your progress. (Consider this a kind of "before" photo.)
2. Check in with your tracker. Throughout the day, take a look at the number of steps you've already logged. Are you on track? If not, get moving! A lot of wearable devices will let you set reminders to get up and moving if you're sitting still for 20, 30 or 60 minutes. If you're using your phone, set an alarm or tell yourself that every hour at the top of the hour you will walk around the block (or the floor of your office building).
3. Actually use your tracker! A lot of people invest in a trendy, top-of-the-line fitness tracker only to throw it in a drawer after wearing it for a few months. If you're going to commit to the challenge, make sure you keep your tracker or phone charged and with you at all times.
4. Set smaller goals for yourself. Regardless of what your baseline number is, think about where you want to be at the end of this challenge. Do you want to finally hit 10,000, or do you want to be able to climb up the stairs without getting winded? Maybe you're also training for a race? Each week, tell yourself you're going to walk a little bit more (either in number of steps or the duration of each walk).
Read more: 6 Ways to Burn More Calories Walking
8 Reasons to Walk More
If you're not convinced yet that a walking challenge can actually help you improve or maintain your health, consider these amazing benefits:
- Can help decrease body weight, BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference
- Increases muscular endurance
- Increases HDL ("good") cholesterol
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Reduces physical symptoms of anxiety associated with minor stress
- Improves sleep quality
- Is associated with better cognitive performance
Read more: Can Walking Be Enough to Reduce Obesity?
How to Join the 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!