Contents

Member Stories

  • Ironman Training for Unfit Stepper

    “I am the least likely to step up to do an Ironman in May 2020. I am not a mermaid nor do I ride my single bike 190kms, nor am I a Forrest Gump Runner. This step Tournament will hopefully get me fit again to start training properly. I always need a goal to chase. My work has come up with this to one get us fitter and help us to mentally be healthy. Nationally we have teams and the one who wins can have donations made to charity of their choice. So here goes. Cheers! Donna” – Anonymous, Queensland, 30 Sep 2019

  • Badminton

    “Badminton is a great game both as a professional and recreational one. It requires not only skill but also extensive body movement which helps to keep you physically fit and strong. As a working staff its very difficult to maintain your body fit, so I started to play badminton from last year and it had helped to improve my core muscles, arm and back muscles and get a workout as well. Thus, if you want to lose around waist or thighs, a game of badminton works much better than just running.” – Anonymous, Outside Australia, 27 Sep 2019

  • The Weekender

    “It all started at work last year after I lost my partner to cancer, one of my colleague put me in to make up a team of five for the work 10,000 Steps competition. I found during work hours I could easy do about 30,000 steps but the weekend was a different story, so I had to get out of the house go place like the beach, or bush walking etc. Now am hooked, not only with the work comp each year but with the individual comp. I enjoy better health, mentally, physically but most of all its help me through some the grieving of the loss of a partner. Thank you.” – tweezel, New South Wales, 15 Jul 2019

  • Fit Happens

    “Play regular golf…walking the course you do 16,000 to 18,000 steps in 4 and a 1/2 hours hitting a little white ball around a beautiful park land settings, adrenalin running through your veins…awwww it’s not true what Einstein said “Golf is a good walk spoilt”. ” – Anonymous, New South Wales, 11 Apr 2019

  • Subby

    “I had an artery in my head burst about 5 years ago when I was 50 and am partially paralysed on the right side. After months in hospital I was sent home (not a good patient). My steps has to come from walking inside the house. I have worked up to about 5-6000 steps a day where I used to double that. My advice is; don’t try and compete with others, the biggest challenge is yourself. NEVER, EVER, give up.” – Gary, Victoria, 30 Mar 2019

  • Walk around Photography has healthy outcomes.

    “I enrolled in University of Newcastle to study visual communication, and so learning digital Photography has provided two immediate benefits, I’m now can take decent photo, and my health and well-being is in great shape due to walking around practising photography. Every photography trip clocks up at least 5000 steps. So I decided to join the 10000 steps challenge.” – Anonymous, New South Wales, 25 Mar 2019

  • Fun

    “I thought I was walking around 1600 steps on a shift and realised after today I walk so much further. I got a total of 19507 from my day shift and look forward to seeing what I do on an afternoon and night shift, this exercise along with my cycling is fun.” – Anonymous, Queensland, 7 Feb 2019

  • Already active

    “I was already very active, however this has made it more fun. I have competitions with my mother who is also a member of 10000 Steps. The biggest surprise with all this activity was that I won a prize for doing it. Having the challenges has inspired me to do more walking and other healthy activities. Cheers Kerry.” – Kerry, Queensland, 10 Jan 2019

  • Rebirth!

    “My last login was 2006…younger, fitter and healthier! A pedometer on my waistband held on with a ribbon and a safety pin because I was forever losing it! But most importantly, the programme worked! I’m aiming for the same result again….well, the fit and healthy part…..and have every confidence in achieving it. So much incentive to keep trying. Cheers to everyone ‘having a go’….” – sue, Queensland, 9 Jan 2019

  • Stepping out in the UAE

    “We are the staff from an international school in the emirate of Ajman in the United Arab Emirates. For those of you that do not know the UAE, it is not walking distance from Dubai or if it was, it would be a long, hot walk! As one of our social and wellbeing initiatives at work, we have some 75 staff members in teams of five involved in our team challenge tournament. We are a diverse group of nationalities: from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India, Philippines, Pakistan, Turkey, Columbia, Egypt, Jordan and other gulf countries. Involvement in the tournament has certainly brought all aspects of the school’s operations together: cleaning, maintenance and facilities, security, academic, marketing and admin support have all stepped on board and it’s certainly a real talking point around the place. The temperatures have dipped so everyone’s out in the fresh air, as well we’ve seen some really fantastic individual performances. It’s had a powerful impact on strengthening our bonds at work and establishing meaningful connections and we’ve still two weeks to go! Logging steps is simple; the resources on the website are great and overall, it’s been fun for everyone – keep up the great work!” – Anonymous, Outside Australia, 8 Nov 2018

  • MISFITS Australia, Manny

    “I have dug out from storage my wife’s old treadmill and have begun walking 4-5 kilometres every morning. That’s around 5000-6000 steps I wouldn’t normally make. I usually walk around 10 k’s on a normal day at work anyhow, but the 10,000 steps competition has inspired me to do more. Thought I would share this with you. Good luck and happy walking to you all. Manny” – Anonymous, Victoria, 17 Oct 2018

  • Friendly and healthy competition at work and at home!

    “I have to credit the 10,000 Steps program with getting many of my family members to exercise as they wanted to look like they are trying in our “Group”. I have found the same to be true at work. The fun practice of checking your steps each day has made for a positive interaction with both of my groups! I notice at home, it is fun to see if you can beat a family member or when a new exercise person beats an avid exercise member. All good and healthy!” – Anonymous, Outside Australia, 16 Aug 2018

  • The 10,000 Steps program is perfect for me

    “I’ve found this program most enlightening. After a long period of knee problems which prevented me from walking far, now resolved, I decided to join 10,000 Steps to keep me honest. Most days I walk approx. 12,000 steps. I still have some minor physical problems which prevent me from doing some other types of exercise so this is perfect for me.” – Anonymous, Queensland, 7 Aug 2018

  • The Stepping Bug caught me…

    “I first started the 10,000 Steps and challenges in a 4 week Tournament in 2017 and I initially planned on conducting at least 12,000 steps per day, considering I wasn’t that active, but the ‘stepping bug’ caught me and I even recorded a couple of 50,000 plus steps during the Tournament, and this has all occurred thanks to the 10,000 Steps Program. Since then, I now step an average of 25,000 every day and always log my steps online, participate in 5km Parkrun each Saturday, can now run 10kms without walking and have lost around 18kg and am feeling better and fitter than I have in decades – again, all thanks to the 10,000 Steps Program. My advice to anyone considering the 10,000 Steps Program is to join and just start stepping, who knows what each tiny step will bring. For me it was a huge change in lifestyle and wellbeing, definitely for the better! – Wayne Chetcuti” – Wayne, New South Wales, 14 Mar 2018

  • Stepping along

    “Hi Everyone. I have been stepping since 2013 and every now and then slip up but I have inspired my husband to do 10,000 steps per day too. Being a man he outdoes me most days and has also lost 26 kilo’s. He does not do any challenges or record his steps though, but is motivated daily to walk his 10,000 steps which makes me feel chuffed that he does it. Keep up the good work everyone and I like the individual challenges too. Helen Etheridge, Sydney, Australia.” – Anonymous, New South Wales, 13 Mar 2018

  • 10,000 Steps since the beginning…

    “I’ve been with 10,000 Steps since the beginning when a couple of health and human performance academics decided to do something practical to improve the overall health and fitness of staff and students at CQ University in Rockhampton. I’ve personally done over 55 million steps since (more actually, as in the early days there was no website), and shared in the joys and successes of what is now a world wide community of happy steppers. Thanks to folk like Peter Reaburn and Kerry Mummery who got this great effort off the ground, and to the many folk since who keep it humming along today, and hopefully, for many years to come. You can complete monthly challenges at varying ability levels; I’ve personally found I’m more systematic in exercising when I undertake these. You can link up with other walkers or make up a team. Member stories are also on the website and some are very moving and inspirational. So what’s not to like? Join me today and let’s aim for half a million walkers before the decade is out :)” – Peter, Outside Australia, 14 Feb 2018

  • Achieving 10,000 steps, but maybe not all in one day.

    “I was getting discouraged seeing my pedometer never clock up the magic 10000 in spite of, what seemed to me, a lot of effort. But I’ve found a solution that works for me, to keep me motivated. I don’t zero my pedometer every day any more. I let it keep running till it reaches 10000 and then I reset it. That means that most days, I see 10000 on the pedometer and I feel I’ve achieved something. In practice it works this way: Day 1 – I might clock up 7000 steps. But I don’t record it and I don’t reset the pedometer, because I haven’t reached 10000 yet. Day 2 – I continue from yesterday, reach 10000, record it and reset the pedometer. And then keep walking. Maybe I end the day with about 4000 on the pedometer. Day 3 – Same again, I continue from yesterday. Towards the end of the day, I can have reached 10000 again, after doing about 6000 steps. I then reset the pedometer, and any more I do before evening gets carried over to the next day. Day 4 – Maybe I’ll have 1000 or so from yesterday to start with, or maybe nothing. I may not reach 10000 this day, but even so, every step I clock up is going to help me reach 10000 tomorrow, so I stay motivated to keep walking. My step average has increased this way, because every step counts towards certain achievement, either today or tomorrow. There are no ‘wasted’ days. Every step counts.” – April, Victoria, 13 Feb 2018

  • Great Experience

    “It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life losing 5 to 6 kg of body weight in one month only by walking as a part of our workplace Tournament. In the last few days of our Tournament, all of our team members visited some high hills and beautiful historical places here in India to get more steps. During this time we got to know each other more. Even though the Tournament has now ended, I am aiming to keep walking and am hoping to lose more weight. ” – Anonymous, Outside Australia, 2 Nov 2017

  • Fantastic Motivator

    “Hi there I found this website when I had my first determination to loose weight in 2012 through many walks I saw the 10,000 Steps signs and bought a pedometer and started logging my steps, I found it fantastic and very motivational. I had a two year goal to lose 30kg which I accomplished with the help of a huge amount of walking, going to the gym and changing my diet. Once my goal was hit I slackened off a bit, but continued to ensure a step goal of 10,000 steps a day. I have since put all the weight back on and will start a new goal in the new year. Through the years my basic pedometer was replaced with a striiv smart pedometer which I loved but it died on me and as it was not sold in Australia at the time I moved to a Fitbit, which now everyone in my family has a Fitbit as well. I continued to log my steps into your website as it contained all my history and created an account for my daughter. The 10,000 Steps website is always on my mind but as I had a Fitbit I didn’t go into it very often and when I did only to update my steps. Today I went in there and it now syncs with Fitbit. What a lifesaver you have come a long way in the years I have used your site and am very impressed with the fantastic updates to the site. My steps are all up to date and having the option to sync with Fitbit, it will always be up to date from now on. Thankyou for a great site and keep up the fabulous work improving it.” – Heather, Queensland, 28 Oct 2017

  • Accountability

    “I originally joined in 2009 and have just signed into my old account after a long break of not recording my activity. After great success my slide started with thinking I didn’t need accountability. Thankfully, it isn’t as bad as when I originally started and never do I want to go back to those days. Just laced up my old shoes and am going to explore my new city which I moved to six weeks ago. Also joined the gym. Back on track, thank you for keeping my old account.” – Kathleen, Queensland, 28 Sep 2017

  • It Started With Food

    “After several years of intense stress, I’m virtually inactive, except for swimming on weekends. I’ve been wanting to get more active for years. I used to weight-train in my 30s, and one thing I learned (and later forgot) from my weight-training days is the importance of nutrition for sustaining activity. While weight-training, it was my goal to eat 6 nutritious meals per day – 4 x protein, carb, and vegetable, 2 x protein and carb – and 8 glasses of water. No calorie counting. No restrictions. By focusing on getting the right fuel for the body, things like cake and chocolate lost their appeal. I still used to eat them occasionally when I was feeding my body right, but most of the time I just didn’t feel like it. I had so many other really satisfying foods I wanted to fit into my day. And I got really fit, strong, and energised. So, as of last month, I’m back to on to nutrition. I’ve joined 10,000 Steps to track my activity as I get more motivated and to strike a match to all this good fuel I’m taking in. I’ve chosen 10,000 Steps specifically because it runs throughout the year, and lets me compete against myself, which I like a whole lot more than team-based challenges. The best person to compete against, in my opinion, is yourself.” – April, Victoria, 4 Sep 2017

  • Granni

    “I have lowered my daily goal from 10000 steps to 7500. I am in my 3rd year of chemo for ovarian cancer and I just do not have the stamina to walk like I use to. I am 80 years old but still trying to stay as active as I can.” – Anonymous, Outside Australia, 25 May 2017

  • Reflections

    “Just been browsing the back stories and see I contributed way back in 2004 (a pedometer lost on the slopes of the Sleeping Giant, Kau’ai, and setting up the sadly short lived Greensteps). I’m a foundation member of 10000 Steps – even before it became a presence on the web – and will be forever grateful to my fellow academics, Peter and Kerry, who were instrumental in getting the fledgling 10000 Steps to fly – as well as the sterling support offered by Queensland Health and CQUniversity over these past decades. I came back to New Zealand/Aotearoa in 2010 just in time for the Christchurch earthquakes and now the Kaikoura one – if the earth wore a pedometer it would be racking up the steps big time! It’s been great turning getting into the 76-100 age range – the competition isn’t nearly as fierce 🙂 The stories here are incredibly moving – if someone hasn’t done a higher degree yet then the stories here would be a great starting place. That’s it from me for another decade or so (maybe)… Peter Hallinan” – Peter, Outside Australia, 10 Apr 2017

  • Road to Recovery

    “Until 23rd February 2016 it was easy to complete 10,000 steps or higher most days. I had major right foot reconstruction on that date so was non weight bearing for 8 weeks and then gradual increases in daily stepping have increased mobility of my right foot. At the end of June 2016, my surgeon was so happy with my progress that he just encouraged me and I was discharged from his care. Swelling will continue to occur for at least 18months post surgery. I have found that if I exceed 6,500 steps the foot is too swollen to do much more than 4,000 steps for a couple of days. Being able to log my steps and be accountable to someone out there encourages me greatly. 5 out of the 7 days I usually reach my target of 6,500 steps. Thanks for this opportunity to log my steps manually.” – Anonymous, New South Wales, 7 Mar 2017

  • Parkrun!

    “If your looking for a fun way to increase your steps why not try “parkrun”(www.parkrun.com.au for the one closest to you). It’s a 5 km walk, jog or run, free to attend and is on every Saturday Morning at 07:00. It’s also a great way to meet like minded people in your local community. I tried it for the first time in February 2015 and couldn’t make it more 800m before having to go from a slow jog to walking. Over my last 40 parkruns I’ve managed to build up to jogging (still slowly) for the whole 5 kms and broke 32 minutes for the first time last Saturday. Not a brilliant time, but (for me) it’s more about the enjoyment and encouragement you can give (and receive) to the other walkers, joggers and runners. I always leave with a smile on my dial. Cheers, Paul Mac ” – Anonymous, Queensland, 12 May 2016

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I tried to go from walking 500 steps to 10,000 every day for a month, and it was a lot more stress than I bargained for

Before and after the 10,000-step challenge. Martha Sorren

  • The US Department of Health and Human Services says that adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • As someone who works from home, I was not moving nearly enough, so I challenged myself to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month.
  • Although I saw results, trying to hit my step goal every day was a lot more stress than I bargained for.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Modern-day work setups make it pretty hard to stay active. Many people work desk jobs that have them sitting down for eight to nine hours a day. Plus, there’s the time spent in a car or on public transportation commuting to and from work that adds to this sedentary lifestyle.

I work from home, which means my daily activity consists of walking to the fridge or the bathroom in my small apartment. Before I started this experiment of walking 10,000 steps every day for a month, I was averaging about 1,500 steps a day, but only because I would sometimes walk closer to 2,000 steps on the weekends, as opposed to my usual 300 to 500 on a workday. Frankly put, I was not moving around nearly enough.

The average adult needs to do about 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day

It’s recommended that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

The US Department of Health and Human Services says that adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Doing so can help reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But that recommended amount of exercise doesn’t correlate to the 10,000 steps that most fitness tracker goals are set to. USA Today reported that adults who apply that 150 minutes per week rule to their own lives usually walk around 7,500 steps per day. Even Fitbit, a fitness tracking device known for counting steps, doesn’t necessarily recommend 10,000 as the be-all-end-all step number.

10,000 steps may not make sense for everybody

According to Fitbit’s website, someone who is naturally more active may want to aim for a goal even higher than 10,000. If you’re just starting out, you may want to aim lower. Fitbit says you should track your normal step count for a week and use that as your baseline. Then, add 1,000 steps to your baseline to be your step goal for the next week. You can add another 1,000 steps each week until you hit the number that works for you. If you’re trying to maintain weight loss, you may want to walk less, but if you want to lose more weight, you can aim for a higher step count.

I didn’t know any of that until I finished this experiment, but it does explain some of the challenges I faced during my experiment, especially in the first week.

The first week was a huge shock to my sedentary system

Previously, I had been using the Health app on my iPhone to track my steps. But for this experiment, I invested in a wristband activity tracker. I bought this $30 one from Target that counted my steps, miles walked, connected to an app on my phone, and even tracked my sleep patterns.

I tracked my daily steps using this $30 device from Target. Martha Sorren

I failed to reach my 10,000-step goal twice in the first week. The first failure happened on the first day of the experiment. I was moving across the country on this day. I had to take two flights to reach my new destination and I figured that walking around in the airport to get to my various gates would help me easily hit 10,000 steps.

However, a time change meant I lost two hours in my day and I also couldn’t do much walking during the four hours I was in the air. It turns out that my gates weren’t as far apart as I’d planned for either. By the time I landed, I was only at 4,100 steps. I managed to get in another couple thousand just by virtue of walking around my new apartment and unpacking a bit, but I was simply too tired from traveling to put much more of an effort in. I ended the day with 6,083 steps. It was literal miles ahead of my average, but still under what I needed to get.

The second failure came on the fifth day. I hit 7,600 by the end of the day, but had an unusual amount of work to do. As a writer, I need to use both my hands to type, and my step counter only tracks my steps when my arm is moving. I wasn’t able to make it happen that time because I prioritized my writing deadline over my step counting.

Read more: I struggle to eat healthy food and fit in exercise when I’m busy and stressed. How can I stay on track?

The rest of the days that first week, I did manage to get to 10,000 mostly because I was in the process of moving into my apartment. That required trips to Target, running back and forth to move things out of the car, and cleaning the place from top to bottom. It wasn’t a usual week of activity for me, but it helped me succeed in getting my steps almost every day as I started out on this journey.

By the second week, I had developed some step hacks

Once my moving tasks were complete, I was forced to come up with activities to add to my usual schedule in order to get my steps in. I couldn’t just count on an extended Target trip to help me out. I started taking my small dog on multiple walks around the block per day. Walking to the end of my street and back was around 1,000 steps. She’s little so she couldn’t go for much longer than that at a time. But the idea of taking her on 10 walks a day sounded ludicrous, so I focused on getting 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day from two to three walks.

My dog was a big fan of all the extra walks I took her on. Martha Sorren

I also bit the bullet and joined a gym. The first day I went to the gym, I was amazed at how much easier it was to knock out the steps. Instead of having to spread them out over a full day, I was racking up thousands in under an hour.

Going to the gym wasn’t ideal, but it was a quicker way to hit the 10,000 steps goal. Martha Sorren

I did the elliptical for 30 minutes in the morning and was already at 4,600 by 10:30 a.m. It helped that I was doing this on a Saturday where I was also planning to go to the local farmer’s market later on. I hit my 10,000 steps at 5 p.m. while at the market. Two dog walks and a trip to my local CVS later and I hit a whopping 15,500 steps.

I had to get creative in order to squeeze in last-minute steps

In addition to begrudgingly dragging myself to the gym a couple of times this week, I also walked alone in my room at night while watching TV to hit my goal.

I would just jog in my room before I went to bed to get in whatever remaining steps I needed. Usually, I would end my day with about 6,000 to 8,000 steps, so I would take every last minute until midnight walking while watching a TV show to ensure that I hit 10,000.

Read more: The total body workout you can do in 10 minutes flat, according to a trainer who works with action stars and supermodels

Frankly, it was exhausting because I didn’t always want to stay up until midnight. Sometimes I also had other work I should have been doing, but I had to prioritize the steps and push the work to the next morning. There were many days that I woke up at 5 a.m. after staying up until midnight just to do the work I couldn’t get done the previous night because I was jogging in my room.

At one point, I had to read a book for one of my writing assignments. I tried walking in place while reading, but that made it really hard to focus. Instead, I put the pedometer on my ankle and mimed a bicycle motion in the air to get steps while I read.

I realize this is sort of cheating on the notion of actual steps, but it was also a workout for both my legs and abs, so I’ll call it a win. Martha Sorren

It was around this time that I also began squeezing in steps whenever I could, like while I was brushing my teeth or waiting for my food to finish microwaving. Every little bit counted.

Read more: The best time to exercise is before breakfast, a new study says

My two failures this week were when I (for pressing work reasons or because I had people over) couldn’t rely on my nightly bedtime jog to complete my steps. It was definitely a crutch for me, and I wanted to try to find a way to get my steps out of the way earlier in the day to free up my night.

By the third week, I discovered the importance of a long, leisurely walk

My most successful day came during my third week. Not only did I go to the gym in the morning and walk my dog, but I walked to and from the college football game which was about an hour of activity. I hit my 10,000-step goal by 2:30 p.m. Later, a trip to the mall and then downtown for drinks allowed me to hit 18,000 steps, the highest number I would reach throughout the entire experiment.

Emboldened by the idea that a longer walk than the ones I was taking my dog on could yield better results, I implemented extra walks into the rest of my week. A trip to the coffee shop here, and an errand to a gift shop there, or even the occasional walk to the grocery store. I still needed to walk the rest out in my bedroom at times, but I was falling into a better routine of getting more steps earlier on in the day by taking prolonged walks.

By the last week, I had a real rhythm going

My final week was definitely my smoothest. After realizing that isolated gym time wasn’t enough to get all my steps and neither were isolated long walks, I combined the two. An average day for me during week four looked like this: Wake up and walk my dog (around 1,000 steps), walk to get groceries or run errands (around 3,000 steps), go to the gym and exercise on the elliptical for 20 to 30 minutes (around 4,000 steps), walk my dog in the evening (1,000 steps), jog the last 1,000 steps out in my room to a TV show.

I still finished my days with a jog in my bedroom. Martha Sorren

I wasn’t always able to get both the gym and a walk in, perhaps because I was too busy on a given day with work friends, or because it was raining out. But for the most part, this was a successful model to hit 10,000 steps every day.

I did see results from my increased physical activity

I was always more successful at getting my steps in on weekends when I didn’t have to work and was generally more active. Definitely one of the biggest speed bumps I hit on this journey was waiting until the end of the day to finish my steps, which sometimes resulted in me having too much work to do or being too tired to complete everything.

At the same time, it was frustrating that steps were the only thing being counted. Often at the gym, I would do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio and then move to the weight machines. The US Department of Health and Human Services also recommends two days per week of strength training, but your pedometer won’t pick that up, so I often left the gym having less to show for it step-wise than what I really did.

I didn’t do this experiment to lose weight, but I did end up losing seven pounds over the course of the month. Part of that probably had to do with the fact that I was eating better after being put on a diet by a nutritionist to help manage my IBS. But another part was the fact that I was moving around at all, which was a huge change from my previous lifestyle. I went to the gym nine times in the month, which is seven more times than I’d been to the gym in the previous year.

Despite my results, I probably won’t continue to aim for 10,000 steps every day

My step counter throughout the month. Martha Sorren

Getting 10,000 steps every day was an all-consuming project for me. I was keenly aware when I was not close enough and I often put off other work to go to the gym, take extra walks, and jog in my room. It made weekdays pretty stressful.

Moving forward, I would like to aim for the 150 minutes of exercise per week model that leads to around 7,500 steps a day. I think that, for a weekday, 7,000 steps is pretty good. On the weekends, though, I’d actually like to aim for more than 10,000 because it’s easier to get steps in on these days. Maybe I’ll go with 12,000 to start.

I am excited to take off my fitness tracker because it doesn’t always go with every outfit, but also because of its shortcomings. I want to go to the gym and do nothing but weights one day and still feel accomplished even though my step counter wouldn’t have tracked any of it.

The key to getting healthy and maintaining it is to get moving and vary your workouts. I want to try adding in more biking, running, cardio machines, weights, and yoga to my days in addition to walking to make sure I’m exercising all aspects of my body and not just pounding my feet on the pavement.

10,000 steps is a nice goal to aim for, but it’s not the be-all-end-all for exercise. It’s all about finding a plan that works for you and your lifestyle, whatever that may look like.

Weight Loss Success Story: “No more living in denial”

Weight Loss Success Story: Cindy’s challenge

Cindy was always the “heavy” one. “In middle school, my Tae Kwon Do instructor suggested I go on a diet,” she says. “And I was one of the few dance team girls who wore an extra-large leotard.” By the time she graduated from college, she’d hit 185 pounds.

Diet tip: The breaking point

Cindy had avoided getting on the scale for years-but she couldn’t ignore it when her size 14 pants became too snug. “The button on one pair in particular kept popping off,” she says. “As I was pulling out the needle and thread to sew it back on for the umpteenth time, I got fed up and realized I had two choices: Buy bigger pants or lose weight. I wasn’t ready to shop for a size 16, but I was willing to try to change my unhealthy habits.”

Diet tip: A foolproof recipe

That day Cindy started writing down everything she put in her mouth. “At the end of the week, I tallied up my entries and discovered I was way over 2,000 calories a day,” she says. “Since I was eating out at least five nights a week, making my own meals seemed like an obvious way to cut back.” So Cindy broke out a long-neglected Rachael Ray cookbook and started making weekly treks to the grocery store for ingredients. “I didn’t nix any foods, but I did measure out everything I ate to make sure I wasn’t having more than a single serving.” Soon Cindy was dropping a little over a pound a week. “After seeing how my healthy eating efforts paid off, I wanted to ramp up my exercise routine too,” she says. “I bought a pedometer and tried to log five miles, or 10,000 steps, each day-which sometimes meant stepping in place in front of the TV before going to bed!” Cindy also hit the gym in the basement of her building three times a week, starting with a few minutes on the elliptical, then working her way up to a half hour on the treadmill. The weight kept coming off, and a year and a half later, Cindy became her own weight loss success story-she was down to a trim 135 pounds.

Diet tip: Fit and healthy

Seven months after Cindy reached her weight loss goal, her father, an emergency room doctor, had a heart attack and passed away. “We both knew heart disease runs in our family, but I think he was in denial and figured he’d start exercising and eating right eventually,” she says. “Since my dad died, I’m all about being proactive. I slimmed down to feel better about the way I look, but I’m keeping the weight off so I can live a long and healthy life.”

Cindy’s stick-with-it secrets

•Outsmart candy cravings “I realized that when I have sugar in the morning, I crave it all day. Now I satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner-usually with dark chocolate.”

•Get fit with your pooch “When the weather’s nice, I take my dog on an hour-long walk instead of going to the gym. He loves the extra exercise and attention-and I love taking my routine outdoors.”

•Break down big goals “I started following the hundredpushups.com program to build my upper-body strength. By doing a few push-ups a day, you can get up to 100 in six weeks. I can already do 50!”

  • By Juno DeMelo

How I Got This Body: Running on the Treadmill While Thinking About the Ex Who Called Me a “Big Girl”

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email [email protected]

Who I am: Nikki Thomas, 34, meeting planner from DC

What Inspired Me: “My parents both worked two jobs when we were growing up and didn’t have time to teach us about nutrition. My father refused to eat a salad his entire life and passed away five years ago. We all miss him. What pushed me over the edge and started me on my weight loss journey, though, was shortly after college, when I clocked in at about 275 pounds. A guy I was dating thought he was giving me a compliment by telling a group of friends that he liked the ‘big girls.’ I was mortified. I wasn’t okay with that classification. I had never realized that was how people saw me. It really lit a fire under me. I also feared starting to have serious health problems, like my father, if I didn’t start changing my ways. I broke up with the guy and thought about kicking his ass for the next year while I was running on the treadmill.”

How My Body Changed: “Endurance, muscles, being able to shop in the ‘regular’ size sections in stores. My body is more toned, and I tend to impress myself these days as opposed to being frustrated by what I cannot do. I can go up stairs without getting winded, and doctors commend me on my weight and health. My body doesn’t ache like it used to. I don’t dread exercise. My skin is clear, which I attribute to drinking more water and eating clean.”

I broke up with the guy and thought about kicking his ass for the next year while I was running on the treadmill.

How Long it Took: “It took about two years to lose 107 pounds. I started with running and Weight Watchers. I would walk for five minutes then run for 30 seconds. I slowly increased my running time and decreased my walking time. I worked my way up to the Army Ten-Miler and the Iron Girl Half marathon. I got a new job at the same time I needed a break from running, and during that break gained back about 70 pounds. Clearly I needed to work on the nutrition piece of the puzzle but it’s hard to say no to free lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. When I hit 200 pounds I knew it was time to nip it in the bud. I went back to running. After losing half the 70 pounds, rewarded myself with signing up for six months with a personal trainer, who pushed me to the next level. I lost the remaining weight I had gained and then some. From where I was at the beginning at 275 pounds to where I am now, 145 pounds, I’ve lost 130 pounds. I have been maintaining for about five now.”

My Exercise Plan: “I lift weights in the mornings for about 30 to 45 minutes and run in the evenings with my husband. I take breaks when I need to but don’t schedule them—I listen to my body. I rest when I need to and listen to my body. Rest is important too. It is important to push yourself but not to the point where you resent it. Balance is part of success.”

My Healthy Eating Plan: “My husband and I have a couple different meal plans and prep for the week on Sundays. He cooks the meat, I cook the veggies and sides. Snacks usually are rice cakes, protein bars, almonds, cottage cheese, and peanut butter toast. We do our best to keep our food choices clean but I’ve learned it’s okay to have seasons where you just coast.”

How I Stuck to My Goals: “A lot of it is the fear of not going back to how I used to feel and wanting to be around to see my nieces and nephews grow up. If they want to run a 5K, I want to be able to register with them and not think about it. I got married in May so the other part of it now is living a long life with my husband and setting a good example for my family and friends.”

How I Feel Now: “Like a completely different person. I look back at old pictures and it is hard for me to remember that person. My heart for my family and friends is the same but pretty much everything else is different.”

One Piece of Advice: “Don’t forget to reward yourself—but not with food. Very motivating rewards are: new shoes, new workout clothes, a mani/pedi, or a personal trainer when you hit a big goal. Small numbers add up and time goes by fast. Find something to celebrate about yourself and your progress every day.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Join the conversation! Share TweetAssociate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.

How a 130-Pound Weight Loss Transformed One Woman’s Life

Dacia Root

“I never believed that I deserved happiness,” says Dacia Root, 36 of Pensacola, FL, as she reflects on her weight loss journey. “I hid behind my fat. I held myself back. I doubted everything about myself, my ability to love, because I was fat. And that was absurd.”

Root’s struggle with her weight started in her mid-20s; as she started working full-time she became less active and ate more. “Each year, my weight got higher and higher.” She had tried to lose the weight multiple times, but with about 140 pounds to lose, she had no idea how to start-but this time, she knew why she needed to.

“I needed to show myself some respect, take care of my body, my mind, and my heart, and take control of a life that had spiraled into nothingness,” says Root. “I wanted more. I wanted my dreams and wishes. I wanted happiness. And I wanted to lead a long, healthy life and for the first time, in that moment, I believed that was all possible.” (Check out more of the Most Inspiring Weight Loss Stories of 2013.) And with the following small steps, it was.

Spread the Word

Just after her 33rd birthday, Root asked her friends and family to encourage her along her weight loss journey. “On February 22, 2011, I decided to lose weight and get healthy. On that same day I started my blog. I sent the link to six of my closest friends asking them to help keep me in check. I knew I needed accountability to be successful, but I had no idea how to be accountable. Blogging was my outlet to help keep me focused, but more importantly it led me to find support through other bloggers.”

Losing weight can be an isolating journey, and Root didn’t know anyone who needed to lose over 100 pounds. “I was obese, morbidly obese. I found people in the blogosphere who were not only going through the same things, but they were openly writing about it. They inspired me to try new recipes, join weight loss challenges, and had my back whenever things weren’t going ‘as planned.'”

Let One Good Habit Lead to Another

Root knew she was eating too much food, multiple servings at dinner, and was easily capable of finishing a medium pizza in one sitting, so she started small, portioning her food. This led to food journaling, which led her to research proper nutrition for her body. All of her changes ultimately added up to a huge mental shift: “I went from living to eat to eating to live.” Today, Root lives by the 80/20 rule, which helped keep her focused and sane. “Eighty percent of the time, I prepare meals using whole foods and I focus on eating foods that help supplement my active lifestyle. Twenty percent of the time, I allow for meals out, cupcakes, a beer or two, or whatever else my social calendar may dictate.” (Great diet tip! Check out more weight loss strategies in Experts Reveal: 15 Small Diet Changes for Weight Loss.)

Turn to Fitness

Root started by walking around her apartment complex, working her way up to the treadmill at the gym once her weight was low enough for the treadmill to support her. “I walked and walked and walked. And it was hard. It hurt. Walking at nearly 300 pounds was the hardest thing I had ever done.”

Her strength continued to build and she started to use weight machines. A former high school athlete, Root was no stranger to the gym, but this time around she was concerned with how people would react to seeing her there. She started by using the gym in her apartment complex, which was private and usually empty. “But if there was ever anyone in there with me, I felt that they were probably just judging me. I broke the treadmill twice because I was too big. But after I started to get more comfortable being active again, I cared less about what I thought others thought of me and just focused on me.”

Down about 30 pounds, Root tried pretty much any group fitness class she could: Nia, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Qigong, Zumba. Each taught her something about herself, and motivated her to continue. Feeling amazing and strong at 260 pounds was a game-changer for Root-she finally knew she was worth all of the effort.

Make It a Lifestyle

Root’s new eating habits, workouts, self-love, and social support carried her to goal weight of 156 pounds. But for Root, that milestone was just another day of her new healthy lifestyle. “I didn’t have a big celebration when I hit goal. The day was just another day in an ongoing process to be healthy and happy and to always make those my top priorities.” Now down 130 pounds, Root is still figuring things out. “The whole thing, even now, is a work in progress. I’m always tweaking and changing but now I know that if I’m making choices that don’t support the life I want, they’re not the right choices for me.”

To read more about Dacia Root’s amazing weight-loss journey, and find out how her life has changed, pick up the Jan/Feb issue of Shape, on newsstands now.

  • By Shape Editors

It’s Actually Rather Awesome: Results from My Personal 10000 Steps Challenge

Beginning in March of 2017, I did something totally crazy…I walked more.

Totally crazy, right?

For the past several years, I’ve been pretty vigilant about lifting and exercising at least 3-4 days per week. But being an engineer with a 9-5 desk job, I knew I probably wasn’t getting enough movement in my life.

When my fiancé gave me a FitBit for Christmas, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a shot. I was curious to find out what the big deal was with the magical 10,000 daily recommended steps. How would it improve my life? Would I feel or look better physically? Would I have some sort of epiphany?

I set a 30-day challenge on this blog and went for it.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any dramatic results. The biggest reasons for me doing it were for the challenge and to force more movement into my life. For your average person, 10,000 steps is equivalent to walking roughly 5 miles. Depending on your height and the length of your stride, it could actually be a little more or less. That’s not easy for someone working a mostly sedentary job.

If you’re interested in the 10,000 steps movement or wondering what it’s really all about, you’ve come to the right place. In this rather lengthy article, I dive into the origin of 10,000 steps, the benefits of walking, what you shouldn’t expect to happen, my personal experiment, and much more.

1. Where did the number 10,000 actually come from?
2. Are there benefits to getting 10,000 steps daily?
3. What are those benefits?
4. What kind of results you shouldn’t expect
5. Why walk when you can run?
6. My personal 30-day experiment
7. The high-level summary
8. Some interesting and unexpected things I learned
9. What’s next?

Where Did the Number 10,000 Actually Come from?

Before getting into the benefits of walking and moving more, I thought I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t fill you in on this dirty little secret…

Are you ready for it?

There’s absolutely nothing special about the number 10,000.

(Gasp!)

And it certainly doesn’t have any special bearing on the recommended number of daily steps, other than “it’s what we’ve always been told”.

Thanks to Nat Eliason’s edition of Could that Be Explained by Marketing? my eyes were opened. As it turns out, 10,000 steps was just a super effective Japanese marketing ploy that ended up catching on.

What were they trying to sell? A brand new Made-In-Japan pedometer that was released just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Apparently, the number 10,000 is uniquely embedded in Japanese culture, and it would help sell the product, so they went with it.

50 some years later when FitBit and other fitness trackers were introduced, they kept with tradition. Despite being completely made up, it sounded great for marketing purposes and turned out to be at least a somewhat good target to shoot for.

Does This Mean There Are No Benefits to Reaching 10,000 Steps Daily?

Absolutely not.

Some time ago, roughly 2,400 years, Hippocrates once said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine.” This inspired a couple of scientists from University College London to conduct a meta-analysis of research published over a 37-year period from 1970 to 2007.

Their goal was to find out if there was any validity to what Hippocrates once said.

Their work spanned the evaluation of almost 460,000 participants across 18 different high quality studies. Each study started with information about the participants’ walking habits, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and other pertinent health information. The participants were monitored for an average of about 11 years, during which any major health events (heart attack, stroke, surgeries required, etc.) and deaths were documented.

Through this analysis, it was discovered that those who walked regularly showed a 31% decreased chance of cardiovascular events and a 32% decreased chance of death during the experiment.

Those are odds I would want in my favor any day – and that’s just walking.

While the 10,000 step target may be arbitrary, there are many proven benefits of adding more movement into your life.

Let’s dive into the rest.

Why Someone Might Want to Try Getting 10,000 Steps Each Day

Human beings like to move. As a kid, I went to school, played sports, rode my bike around the neighborhood, then went to sleep and did it all over again. I had so much energy, so I did the only thing I knew how to do – get out and move. I felt great and enjoyed life to the fullest.

Fast forward to the end of high school and I was a different person. I played sports only occasionally and ditched the bike for chasing girls and nights out at the movies. When I wasn’t sitting at a desk in class, I was likely at home playing Halo or Warcraft 3.

I also developed anxiety and a number of mysterious aches/pains those years. Coincidence? Maybe. But doubtful.

Movement is a basic function of human life and our physiology craves it. Here are some reasons why someone might want to try getting 10,000 steps each day.

Move More Reason #1: To Win the Battle Against Sitting

Most people looking to give the 10,000 steps thing a try are doing it for the fact that we all sit too damn much. As we’ve come to find out through the work of Dr. James A. Levine, sitting is really freaking bad for you. He even goes as far as saying:

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

What the actual shit.

As an engineer, I spend most of my 9-5 life sitting at a desk staring at 2 wide-screen, high resolution monitors. I’ll be honest with you, it sucks, and likely so does my posture while doing it.

For me, winning the battle against sitting was the leading reason for me to give this a shot.

FYI – Dr. Levine’s book, Get Up, was a pretty darn good read. I’d recommend it just to open your eyes a bit on the issue in general.

Move More Reason # 2: For the Health Benefits

Other than the few already mentioned, there are quite a few health benefits of moving more.

For starters, the Surgeon General recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity each week. That equates to a little over 20 minutes of exercise each day, or about 30 minutes of exercise most days. If you’re getting 10,000 steps a day, chances are you’re eclipsing that target by a fair amount, which should be more than enough to enjoy the benefits listed below:

Lower blood pressure. Brisk walking seeming to be the most effective based on the Korean study mentioned here.

Lower chance of stroke. Folks from Harvard apparently know a thing or two.

Reduced stress and improved mood. I don’t know about you, but I’m a completely different person when I get more exercise. There’s active Jason, and then there’s sedentary Jason. One you should approach as though poking a grizzly bear, the other you can do whatever because he’s probably not going to give a fuuuh…

Erectile dysfunction. More ragers? Good for the men (and the ladies, too). This is probably an indirect result of better circulation, but a great point to highlight nonetheless.

You may lose weight. Weight loss and fat loss are a whole lot more complicated than just moving more. That said, if everything else in your life remains the same, then chances are that the increased activity may help you shed a few extra pounds. I’d link to a specific study or resource, but there’s just way too much on this particular topic.

Move More Reason # 3: For the Challenge

Lately, I’ve been having a blast trying a bunch of new things and setting challenges to follow through. Bonus points for bringing others into the fun for extra accountability.

Doing what it takes to get 10,000 steps in a day is a lot harder than it seems. Just track your stats for one day and you’ll find you probably overestimated how many steps you’re actually taking.

And if you thought one day was tough, try doing it consistently for 30. The challenge aspect of this is definitely enough to test your mettle – it certainly tested mine as you’ll find out a little further down.

Move More Reason # 4: For the Unexpected Benefits

As I was going through my 10,000 step challenge, I was pretty shocked at some of the things I was noticing about myself. Turns out, just about everything you do has some sort of impact on another area of your life. There were a number of unexpected things I took away from this event, which you can read more about here.

What Kind of Results You Shouldn’t Expect

If you made it this far, you might be wondering what sort of body aesthetics 10,000 steps might help you achieve.

You’ll be disappointed to know that it probably won’t get you shredded. Body recomp is about a whole lot more than a few thousand extra steps. It usually involves some sort of resistance training coupled with a consistently healthy diet.

When it comes to looks, you really can’t outwalk your diet, folks.

That said, nobody said you had to get your 10,000 steps only by walking. If your regimen includes lifting weights and/or some type of higher intensity cardio, who knows what could happen.

Besides aesthetics, you probably shouldn’t expect 10,000 steps to:

  • Immediately cure any major illnesses or disease. Moving more alone won’t cure cancer. But the long-term effects of higher activity levels certainly can’t hurt.
  • Save a failing relationship – though it might!
  • Change your life in a day. One-day worth of 10,000 steps won’t rock your world. A month or years’ worth might.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The 10,000 steps notion, in general, is about moving more consistently over the long haul. It’s about building the right habits to improve your life one step at a time. See what I did there?

Why Walk When You Can Run?

As I alluded to above, how you get your 10,000 steps in makes a difference on the results you achieve.

During my challenge, I admittedly didn’t walk the full 10,000 steps every day. There’d be days when I’d come home from work staring down a FitBit with only 5,000 steps.

I didn’t have time to walk the rest, so I usually jogged or ran instead.

Most people who consistently get 10,000 steps per day, if I were to guess, are pretty active people who likely do some other form of exercise besides walking.

At the end of the day, this challenge is really just about moving more through whatever form of exercise you enjoy and can handle.

Get some exercise. Move more. And try not to worry too much about the rest.

My Personal 30-Day Experiment

I’m a guy who’s pretty big on action. Learning through trial by fire has been a pretty constant theme for much of my life, so I opted to just give this 10,000 steps thing a shot.

Back in my college days, as a skinny dude at the gym, my buddies and I would look at some huge, jacked dude and say “I could probably kick his ass.” Jokingly, of course. But the others’ response was always:

“There’s only one way to find out.”

And that was to actually try.

I’ve never been in an actual fist fight in my life, but with something like this challenge, I could definitely test it out for myself rather than just read about it. I chose wisdom over knowledge and began strategizing my approach.

Through this blog, I created a 30-day challenge where I committed to getting at least 10,000 steps a day for the next 30 days.

With this challenge, I personally wanted to find out 3 things:

  1. How hard was it to consistently get 10,000 steps in a day?
  2. How would it improve my life, if at all?
  3. If it proved worthwhile, was the 30-day period enough to make it a habit that I could continue beyond the challenge?

Before I got started, I posted the challenge on my site and encouraged readers to participate with me if they wanted to.

One of the reasons for sharing this with my audience was to give myself accountability, something I go more in-depth on in Engineer Your Habits, the massive guide I created to help others create lasting change.

I knew that without someone to check-in with, I likely wouldn’t follow through on days I just wasn’t feeling it. I also wanted some sort of punishment for not achieving my daily target.

If I didn’t reach my goal, I gave one of my subscribers $20, which might not seem like a lot, but after the first week I was already down $40. This motivated me to try and get 10,000 as often as possible.

If I did end up reaching my goal on any given day, I celebrated by simply enjoying the benefits first-hand (and often with a high-five from my fiancé).

The Weekly Rundown

Immediately after introducing the challenge, I spent the next week experimenting with how hard it was going to be. For what it’s worth, here’s the graph for that week:

A few days in I had a good feel for the level of effort it would take to get to 10,000 steps. It was going to be a little difficult squeezing time into my schedule with long commutes, but nothing insurmountable.

Then on Monday, March 13, 2017, the official challenge started. I broke down the 30 days into 4 full weeks, plus a final week with just 2 days of work.

Each week, I highlighted my week of walking and shared my results/struggles with my readers. This was also when I forked over the cash.

Week 1 Results

I’ve always been a guy who’s dreaded cardio, especially running, but I found myself jogging and running to reach my goal some days this week…and enjoying it. Weird.

My week started off strong on Monday, hit a few rough patches Tuesday and Thursday, but I closed the week out well. To cap off my week, I remember looking at my Fitbit the last night at 9:30 pm, staring down an abysmal 4,500 step count. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I went outside for a night jog and willed my way to my goal.

That was an awesome moment for me.

Getting 10,000 steps was pretty easy at first, but once the initial motivation and excitement faded, it became a lot more of a hassle.

No noticeable benefits yet, but I do feel great on a daily basis about my accomplishments.

Week 2 Results

After the 2nd week, 5 seemed to be the magic number for days I achieved my goal. I was looking good for hitting at least 6, but a lazy and relaxing Sunday followed by a late night thunderstorm persuaded me otherwise.

My focus going into week 3 was to hit my mark at least 6 days.

I have noticed a slight increase in energy and not needing as much coffee or tea to power through my days. Joints also feel a little less achy, but could just be wishful thinking.

Week 3 Results

I failed to achieve my goal of 6 days getting at least 10,000 steps. Once again, 5 days was the best I was able to do this week. Things were looking up, but a last minute weekend trip with lots of traveling (and sitting) left me with some abysmal numbers for Friday/Saturday. I came back strong on Sunday, but it was too late by then to recover the two lost days.

After 3 weeks, I’m definitely feeling more energized and less achy. I’ve been running more, which has actually gotten me into the best physical shape of my life in a long time, meaning I don’t feel nearly as winded as I previously would have.

Week 4 Results

I finally fucking did it. 6 days – in a row, whoop whoop – of walking at least 10,000 steps. Come Sunday, I was so excited to have accomplished my goal, that I just sat around and relaxed the hell out of that day. Unfortunately, I also had food poisoning from a restaurant we ate at the night before, but whatever. I was still happy.

No extra benefits since week 3, but I do feel great every day that I can win this mini-game I’ve created for myself.

I also love high-fiving my fiancé.

Week 5 Results

This was the short final week for me. Monday and Tuesday I hit my goal and starting Wednesday I was off the challenge, back into my old ways.

It was clear by this point that 10,000 steps were a daily grind and something that required a significant tweak to my routine to regularly achieve.

Ending the challenge was bitter-sweet for me, but I definitely walked away with some great benefits and an elevated sense of purpose for the 30-day period.

I wonder if this can be carried over into other aspects of my life…something I’ll definitely be looking into over the next several months.

The High-Level Summary

Here is the overall graph for the challenge:

It actually only shows 28 days since FitBit doesn’t give me the option to graph 30 days. You’ll just have to imagine the last two bars where I did end up reaching 10,000.

Even though 10,000 steps is an arbitrary number, it turned out to be a pretty good target. As a desk-jockey engineer, it was a challenge to get there on a nightly basis, but certainly not impossible.

Do I think this is sustainable in the long-run? Yes, absolutely; however, it would daily dedication or a fairly significant change in lifestyle. Would it be worth it for you? I think only you can really decide that one.

The two biggest physical benefits I noticed were an increase in energy without supplements (caffeine, etc.) and fewer aches and pains. These are what I attribute most to getting the 10,000 steps in daily.

I also got in much better shape from a cardio perspective. This was definitely because I was jogging or running to achieve my goal on most nights.

As for mental benefits, I felt awesome any day that I was able to achieve my goal. I know I mentioned it above, but it really did give me an elevated sense of purpose during the 30-day period. It was fun as hell, and I’m definitely going to be incorporating more challenges into my life.

At the end of the day, and in my own opinion following this challenge, I don’t think our biology really cares how many steps we take. Moving more simply means our hearts beat faster and get a workout. Plus, we aren’t sitting, which is a big deal.

The bottom line is that our health is based on a wide array of factors and trying to definitively say whether or not hitting a certain number of steps matters is impossible.

Moving more and sitting less is the main takeaway behind the 10,000 step regimen.

Some Interesting and Unexpected Things I Learned

During my 30-day journey, there were a bunch of unexpected benefits I experienced and things that I learned. Some of these were from the actual act of moving more itself, and others from the challenge/mental aspect of it.

Nonetheless, it was interesting as hell to learn this stuff about myself.

#1. I would’ve never completed this without my blog’s accountability. Knowing that there was someone to let down and think I was a failure if I quit was big for me.

#2. I’ve always hated running, but as the best option to reach 10k each night, I actually enjoyed it and what it was doing for me.

#3. 10,000 steps turned out to be the perfect target for this challenge. You can see from the graphs above that when I hit my goal, I barely fucking hit it, and the days I failed, I really wasn’t that close. Each day was a test of my will, and that’s what made things so exciting.

#4. Challenges seem to be a great way to push past the shitty beginning stages of forming a habit. They take something you thought previously impossible and make it more manageable.

#5. I quickly became focused more on hitting my daily and weekly goals than worrying about my results at the end of 30 days. If I hit the daily and weekly goals, the rest kind of fell into place. Something to note for any larger projects in life.

#6. Even though I failed to hit 10,000 steps for all 30 days, I still absolutely crushed my before-challenge weekly average of less than 1 day per week getting 10,000 steps. Perspective is everything.

#7. I managed to increase my productivity by a good bit. The extra exercise and time management to reach 10,000 steps helped me buckle down and get stuff done when I needed to.

This challenge was fun as hell for me. So fun, in fact, that I’m already trying to think of what my next one is going to be.

As for continuing my daily 10,000 steps adventure, it’s definitely something I’m going to do. Over the last few weeks, I’ve restructured my days a bit and chunked up my work better to allow for more walking breaks in between.

The positives I took away from this challenge far outweighed any negatives if any, so I would definitely recommend trying it out at some point.

If you’re interested in doing the 10k challenge, or just trying to find some answers on what it’s all about, I hope this post has helped you.

I do a lot of personal experiments here and I love making new friends, so be sure to stop by again soon!

P.S. If you’re looking to set up your own 10,000 steps challenge, I created a free PDF checklist that you can download here to get started. It’s got your basic setup and a few tips/tricks I learned along the way that would’ve been useful to know up front.

How Megan K. Dropped 100 Pounds—One Step at a Time!

Megan K., 38, a kindergarten teacher in Philadelphia, PA, had tried to lose weight before, but nothing seemed to work. “I’ve struggled with my weight on and off throughout my life,” says Megan. “And I had always been interested in fitness, but I was never able to stick with it.” So when Megan learned about Fitbit trackers from a friend last spring, her husband took note. “He bought me a Fitbit One for my birthday,” says Megan, “and it was love at first sight.”

“I was instantly motivated by having a step goal,” she says. “Once I saw I could regularly hit 10,000 steps, I was unstoppable.” Megan spent the summer working out in the mornings, going for a walk or to the gym, and reaching her step goal by daybreak. And soon tracking steps became a family activity—Megan’s son began joining her on daily walks. “It’s really important to me to be a good example to my son,” she says.

When she returned to school in the fall, Megan was 40 pounds lighter and her co-workers were impressed. “A lot of people were asking how I did it,” she says. Megan was more than happy to share her secret. She managed to convince the school’s human resources department to purchase 10 Fitbit trackers for employees to “check out,” and use to compete against each other in monthly challenges. The other teachers love the program. “There are always 10 people using the ones from the school, and at the end of the check-out period a lot of them end up buying their own Fitbit trackers!” says Megan.

Today, Megan and several of her co-workers spend their free periods and lunches walking together, and the group of 10 has grown to over 30 teachers. “It really changed the culture of our work environment—even the students notice it,” says Megan. “We push each other to be more active, and I’ve increased my goal to 15,000 steps a day now,” she adds.

Adding more steps to her daily routine was a good start, but Megan knew if she really wanted to improve her health she wouldn’t get there with a fitness-only approach. She also made an effort to make better food choices. “Being active and eating well go hand in hand,” she says. “Once you start doing one, the other catches up.”

Her one-step-at-a-time approach is ultimately what helped Megan lose all of her extra weight. “It can be overwhelming to try to do 10,000 steps all at once,” she says. “But it’s really surprising how quickly it can all add up.” And after losing 100 pounds, it has certainly has added up!

Megan’s initial goal to simply walk 10,000 steps a day has also lead her to try new workouts and activities. These days Megan can be found running, swimming, and biking, too. “My Fitbit has changed my life,” she says, “I’m more active than I’ve ever been, and my Fitbit One has made it so easy for me to get here.”

Megan’s advice for others:

Rack Up the Steps All Day
“Trying to do 10,000 steps at once didn’t always fit into my schedule, and seemed hard to do,” says Megan. “But going on a little walk in the morning, and another after lunch helped my steps add up.”

Set Goals that Work for YOU
“I know some of my coworkers are hitting 30,000 steps on a regular basis, and it’s tempting to compete with that—I really hate losing,” Megan says. “So sometimes I have to remind myself that’s a lot of steps, and that number isn’t always realistic for me on a daily basis. 15,000 is what works for me, and that’s still super active.”

Believe It’s Possible!
“Even if you’re someone who struggles with fitness, or if being active doesn’t come naturally to you, you can do it—and it can all be done with walking,” says Megan. “You don’t have to go out and kill yourself every day, just set a goal with Fitbit and ease into it.”

What’s helping you reach your health and fitness goals? Offer your tips and advice in the comments below, and share your success story with us!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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