Once in a blue moon, a product comes along that is so innovative and clever that it redefines an entire industry. When Fitbit went public in 2015, it was already poised to become the gamechanger it currently is. Now with over 25 million Americans actively using their Fitbit and accompanying app to track their fitness progress, it’s clear that the Fitbit is a phenomenal invention that has led millions to take their workouts more seriously.
What is the Fitbit and How Does it Encourage More Workouts
The Fitbit started as a creative and convenient way to track your steps and other workout progress. Designed as a sleek wrist band that you’d feel comfortable wearing anywhere, the Fitbit became popular for everyone from struggling moms to experienced fitness trainers. Connecting seamlessly with an app on your phone, Fitbit was the first product that easily tracked steps, heart rate, and other useful functions, and all you had to do was wear it.
The Birth of the 10,000 Step Challenge
While Fitbit popularized the 10,000 step challenge in the Western World, Japan has been using their “manpo-kei”, or 10,000 step pedometers, to keep citizens active since the 1960s. Ultimately, the reasons why Fitbit has become known for its 10K step challenge aren’t random.
The CDC and other health organizations have stated that walking 5 miles a day or getting 30 minutes of activity per day are recommended for healthy adults. Fitbit combined these recommendations into an easy to remember challenge for its users– simply walk 10,000 steps each day to maintain optimal health and fitness.
The Significance of 10,000 Steps
Admittedly, there’s no one-size-fits-all goal when it comes to the ideal amount of daily exercise one should do. However, the 10,000 steps concept is designed to be just that, or at least the closest thing to it.
Combining recommendations that include 30 minutes of exercise per day and 5-miles per day of walking, the 10,000 steps challenge also was influenced by the fitness tracker itself. Making it to 10,000 is an easy goal to remember, as opposed to 9327 steps for example. With a series of good reasons for its popularity, all that’s left for the individual is to make sure you get your 10,000 steps in each and every day.
Benefits of Committing to the 10,000 Steps Challenge This Year
Although walking won’t give you bulging biceps or a six-pack, getting your 10,000 steps each day comes with more benefits than you may realize. From improving your heart and brain to manifesting a stronger metabolism, peruse some of the rewards you reap when you get your 10,000 steps each day.
- Your blood sugar will be stabilized, decreasing diabetes risk.
- Studies show that any form of exercise greatly improves brain activity.
- With every successful day that you meet your goal, your self-discipline improves.
- Heightens the stroke volume of the heart, allowing more blood per pump
- Reduces stress and can even have a positive effect on oral health
Beginning Your 10,000 Step Challenge
You’ve bought your Fitbit, tried it on, and admired the way that the band looks with your favorite workout outfit– now, it’s time for action. Every step you take is tracked, and after seeing only a couple hundred steps during the first few hours of your morning, it may seem daunting to make it to 10,000 and to repeat that every day for a year. In fact, getting your daily steps will most likely take some planning. Explore these opportunities where it may be easy to get your required steps.
How Many Steps Can You Get During the Workday?
While some jobs take place in an office and allow for little fitness progress throughout the day, other jobs are perfect for racking up the steps you need. For example, it’s common for labor and delivery nurses to walk 5000 steps during a 12-hour shift, and servers in a popular restaurant may be able to get at least 10,000 during a much shorter shift. If you have a job that keeps you on your feet, don’t miss your opportunity to wear your Fitbit and ensure that you’re getting credit for all of those steps during your workday.
Getting Extra Steps During Daily Errands
Have an appointment at the bank after work or have to get a few things at the grocery store? Wear your Fitbit and park farther away than you usually would to get some walking in. If there’s time to kill in between your errands, why not use it to walk around the entire plaza for a few minutes? Creativity is crucial when finding ways to work on your steps each day.
Turn Social Time Into Workout Time
One great thing about walking for exercise each day is that it’s easy to do with friends and family so they can share in the benefits as well. This can take the form of walking around your neighborhood, a scenic park, or walking around the mall together. However you and your friends like to obtain your steps, it can turn a friendly chat session into a valuable workout opportunity.
Discover and Stick to Your Favorite Trails
As you begin to explore the various walkable paths in your city, it won’t be long before you’ve identified some that are seemingly perfect for getting your 10,000 steps. Perhaps a walk around a local lake and down a hill to the parking lot gives you close to 10,000 exactly. Finding the unique local trails that get you the steps you need is part of the fun of the Fitbit challenge.
Keeping it Interesting Throughout the Year
While one day of walking 10,000 steps is a nice accomplishment in the short term, the most substantial benefits come from committing to 10,000 steps over the course of an entire year. If this commitment sounds difficult at first, you’ll be surprised how easy it becomes once you’ve developed the habit. As getting your 10,000 steps each day becomes the norm, consider these tips to ensure it remains a fun and interesting part of your daily life.
- Consider listening to a podcast, audiobook, or music during your walk.
- Invite new friends until you have a fun, likeminded group to go with.
- Join hiking and walking groups on Facebook.
- Try interval training, where you jog for a few minutes and return to walking.
- Give yourself healthy rewards for completing your 10,000 steps.
- Mark off the days on a calendar when you’ve successfully walked 10,000 steps.
- Regularly brainstorm about new ways and places where you can get your walk in.
- Add in variety by traveling to other towns and parks to get your steps in new locations.
- Plan rewards at intervals, such as one month of getting all your steps in.
What to Expect if You Stick to Your 10,000 Steps Daily for a Year
Once you’ve been making your 10,000 step goal for about a year, you’ll laugh when you reminisce on how difficult it seemed at first. You’ll notice that compared to your former self, you’re a lot more inclined towards action. Now that walking five miles each day is nothing to you, your body is likely to feel tighter, leaner, and stronger than when you started. Many of the benefits contribute to your longevity, such as a stronger heart and superior brain function.
The Next Level – Beyond 10,000 Steps
After so many days of completing your 5-mile walking goal, it makes sense that some will want to take their skills to new heights and see where their abilities can lead them. Here are some options for those who feel that 5-miles per day is just the beginning.
Compete in Fitbit Contests Such as StepBet
A cool aspect of the Fitbit that many people don’t consider is that it holds people accountable. This simple fact has made contests, such as those on the StepBet app possible. Basically, you place a bet of approximately $40 on yourself, upload your Fitbit progress each day and ensure that you completed the required steps. Once the contest ends after a month or so, the few who made it to the end without missing a day will win extra money from the betting pool.
Plan to Join a Local 5K Walk/Run
If you’ve been meeting your 10,000 step goal each day, then you may be surprised to know that you’ve been going further than 5K every time. A 5K race may sound intimidating, but many of them are walk/run events with very low pressure involved. Furthermore, many 5K’s are themed and include fun extras like costumes, prizes, and food. Sites like Active.com can help you find out if there are any interesting 5K or 10K walks coming up in your area.
Snap On Your Fitbit– It’s Time to Move
The Fitbit is one of those very rare products that does more than just count your steps– it motivates. For people who live sedentary lives, the Fitbit on their wrist serves as a constant motivator to get up, take a step, and continue on. Before you know it, you’re finishing your 10,000 steps each day and feel much healthier for it. Serving as your quiet coach and subtle motivator, your Fitbit sticks with you, holding you accountable for every step of your journey.