Chances are you’ve heard of the fitness guideline of walking 10,000 steps a day. This is usually the goal of anyone who wants to move more, improve their health and improve their mood, simply by putting one foot in front of the other. It’s all of these juicy perks that inspired the 10,000 steps a day challenge on TikTok, where you (surprise!) try to take 10,000 steps every day, no matter what.
To hit the 10,000 steps per day mark, you can walk on a treadmill, get in place at home, or take a long meander outdoors, also known on TikTok as a “silly little walk.” It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, cold or you’re home late from work, even walking in place while you brush your teeth works.
It’s no doubt good to see a bright flash of 10,000 on your smartwatch, and aiming for a nice round number is definitely a good way to stay motivated. But if you feel like you can’t get that far, it’s good to know that shorter walks always add up. “While 10,000 steps is the baseline for most fitness trackers, studies indicate that hitting a goal of 7,500 steps each day is enough to increase your longevity,” says Erin Beck, director of training and experience at Stride Fitness.
Ending the day with a number closer to 7,500 – or whatever you can do – is always worth it. “Good circulatory health, low cholesterol, and reduced incidence of diabetes are all health benefits from regular exercise, and even a simple activity like walking to hit those milestones can tick that box,” said Beck told Bustle. Here’s more information on the benefits of accumulating a few steps, and how to do it if you want to get started.
The TikTok 10,000 steps a day challenge
TikTok user @lexijaws has pledged to walk 10,000 steps a day, and she’s still doing great more than a month later. One benefit she’s noticed is how a walk can completely change her mood for the better – and often has the power to reverse a bad day. “Overall, I was more positive and had a more positive attitude,” she said. “Feels good doing it. Like, my brain is happy.
Beck agrees that walking is a great way to clear your mind. Walking thousands of steps a day improves mental clarity, relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves sleep quality so you can wake up rested, she says. “Walking also helps relieve stress and tension,” adds Beck. “Sometimes the deliberate act of walking away from a problem helps you gain a better perspective so you can address it when you return.”
TikTok user @shumirun has also taken 10,000 steps a day and often gets closer to 14,000. She’s so passionate about the challenge that she’s created a second channel to share her progress as someone who wasn’t. not always focused on fitness.
Whatever your starting point, regular walks can be a great start to exercise. “The step challenge is a great way to keep us on track to walk more and tap into what we love most about challenges – the support of a community that encourages us to take part in this workout,” says Beck. “I think anything that gets consistent results is what’s most popular, and walking fits that bill perfectly.”
How to walk 10,000 steps a day
Want to take up the challenge? “I recommend starting with a 500 step increase each day and challenging yourself to take those extra few steps by parking your car a bit further away or finding workouts that make it easier to put your steps in place. “, says Beck. “You’d be surprised how many extra steps you can take with small changes from the things you’re already doing.”
Beck also recommends using a step tracker if you can. “Check it a few times a day to make sure you’re on the right track,” she says. “To make it easier for you, divide the hours into steps – for example, aim for 1,000 steps per hour in 10 hours [period]. Even though your day may be longer, you will have time to catch up later.
If you get bored easily, Beck suggests playing your favorite music, taking a walk with your dog or a friend, or choosing new places to walk each week for a change of scenery: “Anything that helps you enjoy the weather will help to do more steps. !”
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Cuthbertson, CC. (2022). Associations of steps per day and step intensity with diabetes risk: Hispanic Community Health Study/Latino Study (HCHS/SOL). Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. doi: 10.1186/s12966-022-01284-2.
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Tudor-Locke, C. (2010). Steps to better heart health: How many steps does it take to achieve good health and how confident are we in that number? Current Cardiovascular Risk Representative doi:10.1007/s12170-010-0109-5.
Yuenyongchaiwat, K. (2016). Effects of 10,000 steps per day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study. Braz J Phys Ther. doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0160.
Erin Beck, Director of Training and Experience at STRIDE Fitness
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