How Your Friends Make the Step Challenge 10,000 Times Better

It's the start of week 3 of the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge, which means you're halfway there! Week 1 was all about establishing a baseline, while week 2 focused on finding creative ways to take more steps throughout the day.

Walk to grab coffee with a friend.
Credit: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM

This week it's time to get your friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors — EVERYONE — involved. Maybe even for a little friendly competition.

How Friends Can Help You Reach Your Goals

It's pretty easy to see the obvious benefit of teaming up to get moving: having an accountability partner. If you know someone is doing this challenge with you, you'll be more likely to stick with it until the end.

And science backs up this idea. One 2017 study published in Nature Communications found that exercising was, essentially, contagious. So men and women who had fit and active friends were more likely to be fit and active themselves.

Another study from 2010 in the Journal of Social Sciences found that people mimic the exercise habits of those around them. And yet another study from 2016 in Obesity found that obese participants lost more weight if they spent time around their fit friends.

Not only do our fit friends help motivate us to get started, they also help us stay the course and complete whatever program we're on. According to a 1999 study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 95 percent of participants who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, while only 76 percent of those who participated alone finished. Additionally, the group with friends was 42 percent more likely to maintain their weight loss at the conclusion.

Healthy friends keep us accountable, motivate us to keep going, model healthy behaviors, provide friendly competition and make us happier throughout the process!

Read more: 8 Surprising Ways Your Social Life Impacts Your Health

Calling All Friends (and Family and Co-Workers)!

This week your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to get at least one person to join this challenge — at least for this week. Then invite them to join the challenge Facebook group so they can connect with the entire tribe.

Want to take it a step further? Why not set up your own mini challenge group IRL! Gather a group of co-workers, friends or family members and set up the stakes: Every participant should aim to hit 10,000 steps each day, taking screenshots or photos for proof.

Don’t forget to stretch!
Credit: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM

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, 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!

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