If you don’t have time to hit the gym, but you’re interested in walking for fitness, start doing the 10,000 steps challenge!
The 10,000 Steps Challenge | How to Start
What is the 10,000 Steps Challenge?
The 10,000 steps challenge is another 30-Day challenge, but this challenges you to walk 10,000 steps per day. This doesn’t mean you have to start walking 10,000 steps on your first day. That’s about 5 miles of walking in a day.
30-Day challenges are organized to progressively increase your reps so that your physical ability is continuously improving. You should start with a number that suits your current lifestyle:
- 4,000 steps per day if you’re someone who spends a lot of time sitting down throughout the day.
- 6,000 steps per day if you spend about 5-6 hours a day sitting down.
- 8,000 steps per day if you have an active lifestyle.
- 10,000 steps per day if you have a very active lifestyle.
The steps challenge is mostly catered to people who are looking to improve their lifestyle with the simple act of walking. Most participants start with 4,000 steps per day. Recording their progress helps them realize how much time they actually spend sitting down versus walking and being active.
Start small with 4,000 steps a day for 2-3 days. Then on the fourth day, increase the number to 5,000. You can stay on this 5,000-mark for another day or increase your steps by the one thousand after each day. Here’s how your first week of the steps challenge may look:
- Day 1: 4,000 steps
- Day 2: 4,000 steps
- Day 3: 5,000 steps
- Day 4: 6,000 steps
- Day 5: 6,000 steps
- Day 6: 7,000 steps
- Day 7: 8,000 steps
If the 1000 increments are too high to keep up, you can always lower it down to 500. Then continue to increase your steps until you reach the 10,000-mark and your feet will start feeling like it’s nothing. You can even go past the 10,000-mark if your body is strong enough to do so.
Why 10,000 Steps?
The number 10,000 came from a Japanese marketing strategy called “Manpo-Kei” which means “10,000 steps meter”. It was aimed at increasing the citizens’ average 4,000 daily steps to 10,000 to help them burn off 500 calories and stay healthy.
On the other hand, 10,000 steps per day are equivalent to 5 miles and 30 minutes of daily exercise. Turning the steps challenge into a habit can help you maintain the CDC’s recommended amount of 150 minutes of exercise per week.
People from all over the world are starting to follow the steps challenge. Some scientists have published their works to show that there are evident health improvements in people who do the 10,000 steps challenge. Some of these benefits include:
- Healthy weight loss, which is all about losing half a pound per week and the extra steps you take in this challenge can help you burn about 2,000 calories per week.
- Decrease cardiovascular health risks such as stroke because constant walking keeps your heart pumping and improves blood circulation.
- Stronger and healthier bones from this weight-bearing activity.
- Improved mood due to the extra dopamine releases of the body and vitamin D from the sun if you’re outside.
- Better sleep because your body is tired, relaxed, and your muscles have loosened any stiffness that would’ve accumulated from sitting down for too long.
- Higher energy levels from better sleep and the fact that keeping your body active can shake the feeling of sluggishness that hits you in the middle of the day.
- Lessens back pain that’s caused by excessive sitting.
Who can do the Steps Challenge?
Anyone can do the steps challenge. It’s mostly geared towards people who live a more sedentary life but it can definitely benefit anyone with an active lifestyle.
The steps challenge is especially great for people with arthritis. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that’s very low in intensity, but an increase in daily steps can help strengthen the joints and prevent pain.
When is the Best Time to do the Steps Challenge?
You can start the steps challenge whenever you want. It’s all about monitoring your daily steps and trying to squeeze in as many steps as you can throughout the day. Remember that you have 24 hours to complete your set goal.
- In the morning, wake yourself up by starting your steps challenge in the morning. Take a short morning walk every weekday around your house or your block. Then take a longer route during the weekends.
- During your lunch break, if you’ve finished your lunch and still have some time left, try to take a walk around the office or your building.
- In the afternoon, if your destination is close enough to walk, try to avoid driving or commuting to continue to add more steps for the day.
- After dinner, walking after a meal can help regulate your digestion and prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.
Where can You Log in Your Steps?
It’s almost impossible to manually count your daily steps once you reach the thousands. There are a lot of fitness trackers available online that don’t require you buy any external gear. The best way to log in your steps is by using a steps challenge app on your smartphone that automatically registers each step you take throughout the day.
How to Finish the Steps Challenge?
Sometimes you’re going to feel too tired to finish your daily steps. Here are some step challenge ideas on how to help you finish the steps challenge:
- Listen to music with a bouncy tune or strong beat to help motivate you on your walk.
- Invite family and friends to join you which can help pass minutes and hours of walking in a single conversation.
- Walk your dog if your friends and family are unavailable. You’ll also be doing your dog a favor as you do your steps challenge.
- Take the stairs if your next stop is only a few floors away. It’s a lot easier to take the stairs when you’re headed down but going up the stairs also adds a little extra calorie-burn.
- Walk while multitasking. Whenever you find yourself doing tasks that only require your hands like brushing your teeth, talking on the phone, or during commercial breaks, walk down the hallway to squeeze in some steps.
- Dedicate time to the steps challenge. Leave out 30 minutes to an hour a day or every other day for just walking.
Watch the video below and learn a simple trick that will keep you motivated to get in shape:
It’s important to pay attention to your body and find out if your daily goal is too easy or too much for your feet. Finding the right increments in steps is highly dependent on your own health and ability. At the end of the day, the steps challenge is all about turning walking into a natural habit in order to improve your health and fitness.
Do you have more questions about the steps challenge and walking for fitness? Drop your questions in the comments section below!