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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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The 10,000 Steps Challenge

10,000 Steps Challenge


Yesterday I explored all the many reasons I have been motivated to walk.  Please read it if you haven’t already!  Essentially, 10,000 is the magic number of steps needed to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and keep your weight in check.  Walking has a number of other health benefits as well, including emotional and spiritual health.  Plus if you walk instead of driving or taking public transportation, you will reduce the amount of non-renewable energy used and CO2 produced.  And lastly, when you walk you tend to become a more active part of your community.


Do read more here if you need more motivation!


So here we go…


The 10,000 Steps Challenge


I am ready to make my pledge to you to work toward walking 10,000 steps every day.  Will you join me?


Don’t worry, this is not an all or nothing pledge, it’s a pledge to work toward 10,000 steps.  When you sign up for this challenge, you absolutely do not have to walk 10,000 steps tomorrow.  But you do have to actively work toward it.  Start walking 1,000 steps.  Or even 100.  Then every week add more.  Even if you can’t do it every day, start doing it as often as you can.  And then work on doing it a little more every week. 


Break Down Those Barriers!


The first step for you may be to address the barriers that keep you from walking.  Is there a voice say inside your head, giving loads of excuses why you can’t join this challenge? Or why 10,000 steps just is not possible for you?  Ok.  Pay attention to that voice.  Now – break down those barriers!!


For instance, are you saying “I don’t have any walking shoes”?  Ok, go buy some.  “I can’t afford them.”  Get some on sale or at a thrift store, borrow some from a friend, or go into your closet and take another look – maybe you can make do with what you have.  “I still don’t have any shoes.”  Ok truthfully, do you need new shoes?  Just use the most comfortable shoes you have and get on with it!  That’s what I do.  : )


“I don’t have time.”  Guess what?  Walking can add years to your life – that is years longer to spend with your grandchildren.  And walking can make you feel better, age more gracefully, and be able to do more active things.  And it helps contribute positively to the planet you’ll be leaving behind for your kids.  “But I just don’t have time.”  So, work on finding the time.  Rearrange your schedule so that you can do it.  You might find that when you add the time to get in the car, drive to your destination, park, and walk up to the spot – versus the time it takes to walk there… it’s nearly the same amount of time.  Plus, you can multi-task – listen to podcasts, books on tape, or music.  Or make all those phone calls you always put off.


Find solutions rather than continue to offer excuses.  It’s that important.  Break down those barriers – for your sanity, your health, your community, and your environment.


Be Safe


Please be safe, everyone!  Some little things to remember…


Bring water with you, and make sure you stay hydrated.  Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.  If you aren’t very active, work yourself up to an hour a day – don’t try to do too much all at once.  Walk slowly during the first 5 minutes of your walks, to warm up your muscles.  Walk in safe locations.  Of course, but make sure you do!  I always bring my phone just in case – so far I’ve only used it to report a traffic accident, but that is worthwhile.  And do protect yourself from the sun with a hat and/or sunscreen.


Doo-Dad


Please spread the word about this challenge, and use one of the following doodads to remind you, too.  You can post it on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, you can post it on your fridge (if you click an image, it will take you to a bigger size)!


10,000 Steps Challenge


Check In


I don’t know about you, but there is certainly extra motivation for me, knowing that I have to tell you all how I’m doing with my 10,000 steps.  Remember – this is not a competition.  We are all living differently, with different barriers.  At the same time, we can all learn from one another and help motivate one another.  That is what community is all about!!


So I’ll post check ins here.  And if you’re antsy and would like to check in between postings, you can always visit this post and check in below, in the comments.


Pledge!


When you sign up below in the comments, please let us all know two things:  1.  when you will start and 2.  how you will begin working toward 10,000 steps.  And remember, you don’t have to have a blog to join – just sign your name if you don’t have one.


My Pledge:


Next Monday, I will walk to my new office, to the p-patch, and back home every weekday.  For my sanity, for my health, for my community, and for my environment.  This challenge is my extra motivation.  You all are my witnesses.  You’ll be keeping me on track!


Let’s Walk Together – Who’s Walking With Me?!


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38 comments to The 10,000 Steps Challenge

  • I have already challenged myself and have walked the last couple months or so with my son. But, we recently got step counters and I will begin wearing mine once I figure out the flippin’ digital read-out (with a robotic voice – I kid you not).

  • Count me in! I pledge to walk more every day – to the store, around the neighborhood, and on lunch break at work.

  • Oh I’m walking. At work there is a pond. Many of us a couple of years ago clipped on the step counting pedometers to see how we would do. When it was time for a break, you would just lace up your shoes stored under the desk and take off. The pedometer stayed on constantly. I suppose we should revive that practice. Thanks for the reminder.

  • 10,000 looks like a big number but a quick calculation shows that my combined morning and evening walks already bring the paces-per-day up to around 15,000
    that’s working on 2 and a half paces per metre and a minimum distance of 6km a day…

    happy walking!

  • Flicka

    Gosh – I had forgotten how simple the challange could be to increase my activity. Am brushing off the pedometer tonight and will start tomorrow. I suspect I’ve been kidding myself about how much I walk around at work each day. First couple of days will give me an idea of how much I am doing then it up, up and away!

  • This is something I already do, so I guess what I pledge is to keep doing it. :)

  • Di

    Just an FYI walking alone will not keep your weight in check! Sure it helps your CV system and promotes a better metabolism but to keep your weight in check is simple science: Calories ingested need to be the same as calories expended. So diet also plays a part in keeping weight in check. Not wanting to nit pick but as a personal trainer I felt it important that people NOT discount the whole picture.

    The main benefit of walking is that it’s usually a precursor to other exercise, be that weight training,cycling, running etc and people generally being more active.

    I can’t really take part as I already walk 3 miles a day with the dogs and run 6 days a week :) But good luck!

  • stardustedl

    i have already begun challenging myself with 2-4 mile afternoon walks around my neighbourhood, and i’ll continue as part of this challenge. i expect it will be much easier for me to meet 10,000 after my schedule changes in a few weeks (from full-time sit-down job to graduate student).

    REQUEST: does anyone have a recommendation for an inexpensive but well-functioning pedometer? i bought a $25 digital one at Target and had to return it after establishing that it counts any kind of movement as ‘steps’ (i racked up several hundred ‘steps’ while driving home from work). your input is much appreciated!

  • Great idea! My only problem is figuring out where to walk *to*. I’m a college student on summer break, where am I supposed to go? :P I am planning on spending a lot of time in the library this summer, and walking there and back — about 3mi. round trip, from the top of a gigantic hill to the bottom and back.

    Just hoping the library doesn’t move before I leave…

  • Anyone want to join me in hunting down Di and force feeding her copious amounts of calories?

  • LOL, Maybelline – all in good fun, eh? : )

    Di, you’re right – I should have said help keep your weight in check. Eating well is a part of many other posts here and it’s very important. Sounds like you’re doing a-ok in the exercise department! Walking is my most fun – and easiest – form of exercise, and it’s what I can do here and now given my lifestyle. For many of us, the most important thing is to take the first step, then others will follow.

    I’m so glad to see some takers here – thanks for joining me, y’all! I hope to see more of us walking together in the next few weeks. It’ll be fun!

    P.S. Anyone have a good pedometer to recommend to stardustedl? I don’t actually have one. : (

  • I was inspired to walk regularly again two evenings ago after reading about this challenge but started counting last evening. My routine walk early mornings total 2,600 steps so it looks like I need to increase that. I can double this number by walking in the evening as well when I would otherwise be watching the TV news and Oprah or reading with too dim lights. It is very humid here in Bermuda right now so catching evening cooler air and breezes is a bonus.

  • Di

    Well any pedometer works in pretty much the same way so if you’re looking to count steps then that’s your only option. However if you are actively going out and walking miles (or parts thereof) google has a good ap called googlemaps where you can plot your walking routes around your area, to see how far you’ve walked :) Always good for keeping my dog walks in check.

    And yeah I eat plenty Maybelline, that’s the great thing about exercise lol. I started watching my food (making better choices) and exercising again and I lost almost 25lbs.

    Melinda, best thing about walking = it’s free! Can’t get better than free! Seriously who doesn’t own some comfortable walking shoes or sneakers? lol!

  • So, I already walk 10,000 steps I think. I mean, I don’t have a pedometer, but I walk to my university which is almost a mile away, and I walk home, and then I walk to the store etc. Basically, I live in a big city, and I’m too poor to be constantly taking the tube.

    So I’m trying to decide if I can commit to a bigger challenge … like can I walk an additional 10,000 steps? Can I commit to running at least a few days a week? I don’t want to take on your challenge if I’m just going to do what I already do … let me think about it and I’ll decide what I can commit to.

  • Ruchi, I don’t know if you’ve seen my post today, but yes – please do!! Definitely, definitely. The challenge is for you. I’m jealous that you’re already working out so much – and I’m inspired, too – I’m happy to have you join us!!

  • I pledge to start the challenge tomorrow morning, 7/11/09. I will walk my dogs (3) 2 x a day. For distance I’ll just keep adding new streets to my walk until I get a good working pattern of 10k steps. I already have my pedometer, just have to find it! Which is why I’m starting the challenge tomorrow morning and not right now! : )) I’m very excited and motivated to do this! Especially after just reading “The Wildwater Walking Club” by Claire Cook. I highly recommend this book!

    Thank you for putting this challenge on your Blog!! : )))

  • darci

    Personally I hate walking in straight lines, but since walking is my only mode of free transportation, I find I am doing it a lot lately :) So I will be taking you up on this challenge :)

  • Lauren

    I’m in! I am dogsitting this week, so I will be taking morning and evening walks every day this week.

  • [...] if you’d like to join us, please feel free!  Good for your health, your emotional well-being, and brings you closer to your [...]

  • Melinda, I’m weeks behind – long story, been really, really sick – and this after a major orthopedic reconstruction in March. Recovery has been slow and – well – painfully slow. :)

    I’ve got a recommendation on the Pedometer – especially if you’re a little geeky like me. Omron has a pedometer (I think I found it either at Costco or Amazon.com) that has a USB link to it. It records all sorts of amazing information – periodically – for me, maybe every week or two, you plug it into the USB and it downloads the data – and tracks how you do. It’s REALLY cool. It’s traveled internationally with me several times and been nothing short of fabulous.

    I think I’m finally in the place where I can start to track my steps. I am still technically in a brace and a cast after my ankle reconstruction – and can only go so far because of all of the donor material in there – but my goal is to get back to the multiple thousands of steps I was doing BEFORE my ankle became a nightmare.

    I’ll very happily place the challenge on my WLS blog: http://livingthedslife.wordpress.com/

    As always – thanks! And awesome idea, Melinda!

  • Yes, count me in! I go to my work by bike, but since april I have a dog so I am obliged to walk. I have a desk job and my hobbies are also chair-related (crafting, reading… you get the idea). So yes, walking 10.000 steps per day is a very nice goal! I start TODAY.

  • I’m in, and the doodad is going up on my blog. I’m starting to get scared that I’m experiencing angina, and the charts say I’m morbidly obese. It’s time. Hopefully improving my health will motivate me toward growing herbs and get that Growing Challenge logo back up on the ole blog too…took it down a while ago, because my efforts had stalled indefinitely. Thanks for the motivation!

  • Fabulous – welcome to the challenge, Melanie. I’m walking steadily about 10,000 a day – which works out to about 3 miles for my little legs. With eating seasonally and well at home, I have been slowly losing the weight I’ve gained over the last couple of years – plus I’m gaining more energy and my brain is active and rearing to go! I am glad to have another comrade in walking.

  • Hello out there
    anyone still doing this? I recently found this site and rally like it.
    I love the 10,000 step challenge and could certainly use a motivation buddy.
    I just walked arounf the block, no idea how manuy steps, nmot many but it is ia start. Will start trying to calculate.

  • Cathy, definitely still doing it – several of us are. I will post an update sometime soon, but yes, please join us!

  • Kathie

    I am in! I know this may be late, but I definitely want to give this a try. I think it’ll be actually a bit exciting to see how much progress I’ve made and it will help me lose some pounds! Glad there are so many gals still doing this!

  • Hmmm. My dog could probably use a little exercise. When spring comes, my friend and I will definitely be taking walks again. I work in a hospital two days per week, it would be fun to pull out the pedometer there (if I can find it *grin*) and see what kind of mileage I rack up. I think, for now, I will commit to walking my dog once a day…not sure how many steps, but certainly more than I am now.

  • withajoyfulheart, hooray! Glad you’re joining the challenge!!

  • Thanks for writing about this. You’ve got a lot of fantastic information here on your website. I am impressed! I have a few blogs that I try to keep pretty live myself but it’s a struggle sometimes. You’ve done a good job with this one. How on Earth do you keep up?

  • [...] you enjoy walking, walk with me!  There are 24 of us walking together now – come join [...]

  • Mel

    Count me in. I am putting my pedometer on right now and meeting a friend thismorning for a walk by the ocean. It will be interesting to see how many steps I do today compared to an ordinary day pottering at home.

  • Darith

    Sounds great! Will start walking more today- love to exercise and love new challenges! Need to get a pedometer this morning. Plan to include more steps in my day by walking to do errands and walking with my kids as they bike after school.

  • Jen

    This is no challenge for me. I’ve walked everywhere I needed to go since I was allowed to walk around town with my brothers and friends. I’m 24 in two weeks and I walk to work, the store, the train, the bus, the dentist, or just for fun. I never got my driver’s license because it’s a good workout and driving is expensive. I would love to see how many steps I take though! I’m kind of excited! Whoo!

  • jenn

    Sounds Great…. Pure Motivation! I will start 2morow super anxious to see how many I actually do on a regular schedule and can’t wait to achieve 10,000!

  • Megan

    I pledge to start walking tomorrow (weather permitting) with my 6 week old daughter :) I am sure I can do 4,000/day on mat leave and when I go back to work, and I can work toward 10,000 a day when summer hits (I’m a teacher).

    Thanks for the motivation!!

  • Pam

    Wonder if this challenge is still going on? Would love to start!

  • [...] center. We became involved in our local community, we gardened in a community garden plot, we walked or took the bus everywhere, we made new lifestyle [...]

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