Step Challenges are a great way to get moving more each day, whether you do one on your own or with a group. I’ve done enough of them to have learned some things you can do to log more steps, and do it without cheating. Here are my top tips on how to win a step challenge and to help you increase your daily steps.
Top Tips To Win a Step Challenge And Increase Daily Steps
Even if you’re not doing a step challenge, use these tips to get more active on a daily basis. These tips will also help improve your chances of winning a challenge (awesome if they offer prizes!) or getting a top ranking on the leaderboard.
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1. Re-think Your Daily Activities
- Next time you’re on the phone, don’t just sit. Walk around or step in place while you talk.
- Waiting for a pot of water to boil? Or the microwave to finish? Cooking something? Walk around or step in place while you wait.
- Watching TV? Walk around or step in place during commercials.
- Taking your kids to soccer, baseball, softball, or any other sports activity? Drop them off then walk around the field or park while you wait for them.
- Driving to the store to run errands? Going to work? Park further away and walk to where you’re going.
- Take a slightly longer way when walking anywhere.
- Waiting for the train, bus, commuter rail or boat? Don’t stand still. Walk around. You may not want to step in place. That would look weird.
- On your lunch break, go for a walk or a run. If you see a donut shop, don’t stop. Run!
- Skip the elevator or escalator. Take the stairs instead.
- I know we teach our kids not to walk around while brushing your teeth. “If you fall, the toothbrush will go straight through your head!” You’re probably old enough to not to let that happen.
- Skip the drive thru. Instead park the car and walk into the coffee shop, bank, pharmacy, and post office.
- Next time you meet up with a friend for coffee, grab the coffee and go for a walk together while you catch up. Stay away from the donuts. You’ll thank me later.
- Take a walk with the fam or take the dog out twice! You’ll enjoy quality time with your family and your dog will love you.
2. Set An Alarm
Set an alert or alarm on your phone to remind you to get up every 30 minutes or every hour. Try to walk around at least 3 to 5 minutes each time the alarm goes off.
3. Walk, Run, Jump Rope, Exercise
You’re not limited to just walking. Activity trackers typically record steps while walking, running, jumping rope, and exercising.
Related Article: Workouts
Did you know the top performers in a step challenge are the most active Monday through Friday? So make sure to make regular activity a part of your week.
4. Listen While You Step
Listen to some music or a podcast while you walk.
Make a playlist of songs what will motivate you to keep moving.
Or do what I like to do — get lost in a really good audiobook. Maybe not Fifty Shades of Gray. You may not want to stop walking. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. Or check out the list of Audible Best Sellers to find a good audiobook to listen to.
Get a pair of good wireless headphones. The Bose headphones received great ratings on Nordstrom and Amazon. It comes in 3 colors and is about $150.
Related Article: Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Active Dad (see recommendation on wireless headphones)
5. Go For a Walk After You Eat
I usually feel better when I go for a walk after eating. Not only does it help you get those extra steps, but it also helps you digest what you just ate. According to Thorin Klosowski a couple of studies have shown this to be true.
Two different studies have shown that a post-meal walk can aid in digestion. One study in 2008 showed that walking sped the rate at which food moved through the stomach. Other studies have shown that walking also decreases blood sugar after meals, which decreases cardiovascular risk and potential signal diabetes. Essentially, walking after a meal clears glucose from the bloodstream to lower blood sugar, and helps move food through your system quicker. Which is to say: that old suggestion to take a walk after a meal really is beneficial.
6. Dealing With Bad Weather
You wake up to a rainy day or a snowstorm. What are you going to do? Go to a mall or shopping center and walk around. As I mentioned earlier, if you see a donut shop, don’t stop. Run!
If you prefer, you can do an at home workout. Lucky for you I have several to choose from. Click here to see workouts you can do at home.
7. Choose a Good Tracker
I use my Apple Watch to track steps. My husband uses his Jawbone Up3. My kids use FitBit Charges. For the most part, it’s personal preference and there isn’t a significant difference in steps tracked by each activity tracker. Apple, Jawbone, and FitBit each use your gender, age, height, and weight to estimate your stride, but they also allow you to further calibrate your stride length. CNET’s Dan Graziano wrote an interesting article, How accurate is the Apple Watch’s step counter and distance tracking? In it he talks about about the step counter and distance tracking of a number of activity trackers.
If you want to win a step challenge, my recommendation would be to stay away from the cheap pedometers they give out at vendor fairs, conventions, or other events. My experience with them is they break too easily, but you can get by with them. I hope you enjoy your step challenge enough that you want to stay active after it’s done. If that’s the case, then go ahead and get a good one and enjoy the various perks that come with each, like heart rate and sleep monitoring.
Related Article: Learn How To Get Better Sleep To Avoid Weight Gain
8. Activity Tracker Dead Or You Forgot to Bring It
If the battery runs out on your activity tracker, fret not if you have a FitBit. You can use the MobileTrack feature in the FitBit app on your phone to capture your steps. This works as long as you carry your phone around with you.
If you forgot to bring your tracker to the gym, most of them allow you to add workouts or other forms of exercise after the fact. The apps will add an estimate of your steps to your daily total.
Did you know having one or more friends do a step challenge with you makes you walk 25% more? Yup! So if possible, don’t go it alone. Grab a friend or join a team. Then share this post with your fellow steppers. Send each other reminders. Cheer each other on. Send them words of encouragement. Set a team goal and work together to reach it. You can meet up to go for a walk or run together, whether outside or at the gym.
10. Did You Get At Least 10,000 Steps Today?
You look at the clock and it’s already 8:00pm, but you haven’t hit at least 10,000 steps yet. Don’t just call it a night. Get up and move. 100 steps away? 1,000 steps away? You’re not too far off. You can do it!
Sometimes you have days when you just can’t get those 10,000 or so steps in. No one’s perfect, things happen, and we have busy lives. Don’t let that stop you and don’t let that be your excuse to quit. Figure out how to make up for it the next day or over the course of the next few days.
Give It A Try
There you have it. Give a step challenge a try and use these tips on how to win a step challenge. If you have a tip to share, do tell. Feel free to contact me or write a comment below. Good luck!