I wanted to share my 30 day step challenge for overweight beginners for quite some time and here it is finally! My reason is simple. I want to help a few people to get moving and this is what I wished for when I started my weight loss journey.
As you may have read in previous posts, I was 329 pounds and was suffering from excruciating back pain. Quite frankly, I could barely walk. I turned to chiropractors and physical therapist and I did get some relief. But the miracle cure for me was … losing weight.
Also read My 80 Pound Weight Loss Success Story.
I could have saved myself a lot of money and time by slowing getting off the couch and walking. But what kept me back was that I always saw exercise as something that was painful and you did at least 30 minutes three to five times a week
It took some time, but I eventually viewed exercise as just moving as much as I can and more and more every day. And I hope that this 30 day step challenge will also help you to see exercise differently and have a better start to your weight loss or fitness journey.
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Why I Like Counting Steps
I prefer to count steps rather than thinking of walking for a certain period of time or distance. I think counting steps is the gateway to fitness. It is a perfect way to exercise for all fitness levels as you can walk at your pace, walk briskly or even run when you are ready.
Here are my seven reasons for counting steps:
- You think of exercise over a 24 hour period and can do what you can, when you can. You also get credit for your regular activities.
- You can do it anywhere. As long as you have enough room to stand, you have enough room to walk (on the spot). And of course, you can walk indoors or outdoors.
- You don’t need special training. After all, we have been walking since we were about one year old.
- You don’t need special equipment. In the beginning, you can wear your most comfortable shoes or if you are at home, you don’t even need shoes.
- It’s easy to do. It’s not complicated – left, right, left, right …one foot in front of the other.
- It’s easy to progress. Even 100 more steps than yesterday is a reason to be proud of yourself.
- It is very motivating. In no time, you will be trying to get a few more steps in before bed to meet a new threshold.
Also read Best First Steps to Weight Loss
What You Need to Count Steps
It’s best if you have a fitness tracker like Fitbit or Apple Watch to count your steps. If a fitness tracker is not in the budget right now, you can also use one of the many apps on your phone to count your steps.
I use a Fitbit, but before I had it I counted my steps with Google Fit. You can also use AppleHealth, MyFitnessPal, Pacer, StepsApp, or ActivityTracker. All, except AppleHealth, are available on both iOS and Android.
If you use an app on your phone, remember you should have the phone with you at all times. It sounds obvious, but I made this mistake many, many times.
The Benefits of Walking
There are many benefits of walking. The most important for me is burning calories. Burning calories will help you lose weight and reduce your risk of obesity and overweight related diseases.
However, there are a couple of little known benefits including increased mood, improved digestion and better sleep. I suffered from chronic insomnia and I can say that walking has helped me sleep better.
The 30 Day Step Challenge
This 30 step challenge is meant for the absolute overweigh beginner so we start off at a lower step minimum. The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. However, a sedentary obese person may only average less than 2,500 steps a day.
So this is where we will start – 2,500 steps a day. It may seem low, but the goal is to get up and move. You are not likely to complete the challenge if we start with more steps.
You’ll also have a bit of a break at the end of the week with slightly fewer steps.
We aim to get 7,500 steps at the end of the challenge because this is the number of steps that two studies have shown to be effective.
The first study found that there is “some benefit can come from even just 7,500 steps. But to prevent weight gain “no amount of steps alone will do the trick.” Obviously, you also need to change your diet.
The second study at Harvard University discovered that women who averaged 4,400 steps daily reduced their mortality rate by 41%. However, the mortality rate increased with more steps before levelled off at 7,500.
Once you get to 7,500 steps and end the 30 day step challenge, don’t stop walking, keep going. Experts think that it takes an average of 66 days to adopt a new habit. So you need to keep at it for at least another 36 days. You can stay at 7500 steps a day or feel free to keep going to where you feel comfortable.
This is the step schedule that I developed for myself. In fact, I rode a recumbent stationary bike for several weeks before I was comfortable walking 2500 steps day.
Listen to your body and take as little or as much time as you need. If you do fewer steps on any day, don’t worry, do the best you can. Anything is better than nothing. Slow progress is still progress.
How to Get Your Daily Steps
If you are like me, once you get to the second or third week you may have to think of new ways tp get more steps in your day. Basically anytime that you can walk – walk, pace or march on the spot. Who cares if you look weird?
Here are some suggestions:
- If you take the bus, get on and off one stop further than your regular stop.
- Walk or pace while waiting for the train.
- Park further away.
- Take the stairs.
- Get up and pace while on the phone.
- Go for a short walk at lunch and breaks.
- Use the furthest restroom.
- Fill your water bottle at the furthest faucet.
- Pace while cooking.
- Walk on the spot of pace while on social media.
- Walk on the spot while watching TV or during commercial breaks.
- Walk while listening to a podcast.
- Walk while listening to an audiobook.
- Dance once a day to your favorite song(s).
- Go window shopping.
- Take the dog for more or longer walks.
- Vacuum the house twice a week.
- Walk while brushing your teeth.
- Don’t use the drive-through.
- Carry your bags in the house one at a time.
Ready, Set, Go!
Okay, you are all set to go. Don’t overthink it. Just start walking. If you need a little more motivation, ask a friend to take the challenge with you. However, it’s best if the friend is approximately at the same fitness level as you.
Leave a comment and let me know how things are going. Good luck!