On June 28, 2023, I committed to walking 10,000 steps a day for 30 days and the experience was transformative.
Today, I’m sharing all the details, including why I set this goal, how I accomplished it, the challenges I faced along the way, what I learned, and what most people want to know – did I lose any weight during the 30 days?
Why I Decided to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day
The impetus for such a challenge was that my typical exercise routine was interrupted by Summer break. Since school had gotten out the month prior and my kids were home, I found it difficult to get to the gym to get my normal workouts in.
During the school year, I usually go to the gym right after I drop the kids off at school. But, during summer, since they are home and not in any camps, I didn’t want to leave them at home to go workout. Also, I’d have to factor in the drive time, and I didn’t want to be gone from home that long.
With the slower pace of summer, staying up late and sleeping in later, I also didn’t really want to do my intense workouts. But, my body craved some type of movement and I know my mind is clearer and I feel better overall when I exercise.
I’ve committed to several different types of fitness challenges in the past (bikini competition, 1/2 marathon, 7 days sugar free, and 9 weeks to beach body). Having a goal and challenge helps motivate me to stick with it – especially if I announce it and have other people to help hold me accountable.
Because I wanted something that wasn’t too physically demanding, and I already had an indoor treadmill, I decided to walk 10,000 steps a day.
The Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
The idea of walking 10k steps a day dates back to 1965 when a Japanese company invented an early pedometer called the Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.”
The potential benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day include:
- improved cardiovascular health
- weight management
- better mood
- stronger muscle and joints
- improved bone health
- better sleep
- increased energy levels
- reduced risk of chronic diseases
- enhanced respiratory health, and
- longer lifespan
Tracking 10,000 Steps
The best part of a walking challenge is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it, just walking shoes and something to track your steps. I used my Apple watch.
Is the Apple watch 100% accurate for counting your steps?
Maybe not exactly, but I figured it was good enough. You can calibrate your Apple watch to how your arm movements relate to your stride lengths at different speeds when walking or running.
How I Got My Steps In Each Day
If you’re looking to do a challenge like this, the first thing I’d recommend is getting the majority of your steps in early in the day, when you have more energy and the whole day is in front of you.
When you wait until later to get your steps in, you may be super tired or have too much to do, so you end up staying up late to get those steps counted.
I could not get to 10,000 steps in a day without going for a walk. And, I usually needed to walk for about an hour. That being said, I walked at a conversational pace so it wasn’t so daunting.
I quickly realized that if I walked 30 minutes on my treadmill at a speed of 3.5, I’d get about 3,000 steps.
So, my morning routine typically looked like this:
- get up
- take vitamins
- take my dog out
- fill up my water bottle
- hop on the treadmill for about 30 minutes
This ended up being such a great start to the day and I really looked forward to it.
30 Days of 10,000 Steps
I chronicled each day of my 10,000 steps journey on my Instagram Stories, and below are screenshots from some of the different days and my insights as the days went on.
Three days in, I was really tired and went to be early!
Sometimes, it took me until late in the evening to get all my steps in, but I still did it!
Day 8 was the 4th of July. I made sure to walk early in the morning because I knew that we’d be out swimming and doing whatever else the day brought and I didn’t want to be worrying about getting my steps in.
If felt great to knock it out on a holiday- even though I noted that it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing right then!
I highly recommend using a tracker that you keep visible to check off the days. I was using my journal (which I had to open each day to remember what day I was on).
Day 11 was another night I was stressing because we had to go to my son’s football game and I still hadn’t gotten my steps in.
Turns out, we had time between the games and two of my mom friends walked with me around the track until we got to my 10,000. Thank you Manuela and Jen!
There were a couple days where it would be later in the evening and I realized I still needed 1,000 steps. 🙁 If didn’t want to get on the treadmill, I would walk around my house tidying up and I could get the rest of my steps in that way.
On Day 15, I had to wake up early and get some steps in before the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. For that sale, I’m usually at the store for many, many hours. With my morning walk and running around the store, I got all my steps in!
On Day 16, I did something I didn’t normally do, which was to go for a walk at sunset. It was so beautiful outside. I brought my airpods and called my boyfriend for a nice, long talk.
We’re on a roll now!
Three weeks in and I didn’t want the challenge to end! I found myself really looking forward to my walks.
My mood was better, I felt energized and it was just an awesome thing to do each day!
I looked forward to listening to a podcast, watching a video on my ipad or just being outside in the fresh air.
Day 22, 23 & 24
It’s worth noting that I did ‘extra’ things to get my steps in like taking the stairs or parking at the back of a parking lot when driving somewhere.
If I took my daughter to the park or playground, I’d walk around while she played, instead of sitting on a bench.
Sometimes, I didn’t get to 10,000 until pretty late, but I didn’t miss a day!
With all this walking and not going to my regular gym, it finally occurred to me that I could join the gym right by my house! It’s very inexpensive and I can walk there in 11 minutes!
On Day 29 I had to thank everyone on Instagram who encouraged me along the way and helped hold me accountable. I shared my journey on my Instagram Stories and it’s saved to a highlight if you want to watch it there.
It’s very helpful to have someone other than yourself to “report to” and keep you honest. Sometimes it’s easier to let ourselves down than to feel like we’re letting someone else down. It’s not the best trait, but it helped me during this challenge.
OMG, I made it! I walked 10,000 steps a day for 30 days! And I didn’t miss a day!
Helpful Tips for Waling 10,000 Steps a Day
- Review your day the night before, so that you wake up early enough to get your walk in first thing
- Lay out you walking clothes the night before and rewear if possible
- Keep sneakers and socks together by the door or treadmill
- If you’re using a treadmill, keep it set up and ready to go – it didn’t look pretty, but it worked
- Save scrolling or video/tv time for while you’re on the treadmill or if walking outside, listen to music, audiobook, or podcast – it made me look forward to that time
- Walk at a slightly challenging, but not killer, pace
Did I Lose Weight During the 30 Days?
Even though weight loss wasn’t necessarily my goal, I lost 4 pounds. I tracked my weight throughout this challenge and from the day I started, to the day I finished, I was down 4 pounds.
I was also watching what I ate, but wasn’t being super strict.
10K Steps a Day Takeaway
Overall, I LOVED this challenge! Of course, there were days when I struggled to get my steps in and didn’t want to finish. But, having a 10k step goal forced me to tidy the house or get up and do something productive instead of just sitting on the couch.
The biggest thing to know is that you’ll have to make time in your day for walks. There’s no way I’d reach 10k steps in my ordinary life. My job is pretty sedentary so I’d probably end up with around 4,000 steps a day if I wasn’t actively trying to do more.
Plan your day the night before so you know exactly when you’ll walk. And, if you don’t have a treadmill, you’ll have to take into account weather and plan to dress accordingly.
Walking everyday made me feel so good! It wasn’t super strenuous and it helped me clear my head and put me in a better mood. Being active helped me make better food choices and I had less time for sitting around.
Are you interested in trying this challenge? If so, I’d highly recommend it!
Did I leave anything out? Feel free to ask away in the comments!
Have a fantastic day friend!