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About a month ago, I had no clue how many steps I was doing in a day. All I knew was that some days I probably maxed out at 500 steps and other days I’d probably be nearing 30,000. Living quite a varied, but busy lifestyle, I wasn’t too fussed about the fact that my activity levels varied from a sloth-like sedentary state to Mo Farah.
When I saw that Fitbit had come out with a new device; the Fitbit Inspire HR, I was instantly interested to see if I would be able to challenge myself to boost my sedentary days up to 10,000 steps. Aside from counting steps, I found that the Fitbit could also track my heart rate, distance covered, sleeping patterns and calories burnt.
To put all of these features (and myself) to the test, I embarked on a 7-day 10,000 step challenge and this is how I got on…
Step count: 11,575
Resting HR: 64bpm
Sleep: 6hr 45min
I woke up feeling ready to go and excited for the challenge ahead. At this point, I hadn’t got an idea about how many steps I’d usually do in a day so I wasn’t sure how easy or hard this was going to be.
By 9 am I had managed to rack up a quarter of my goal, by simply going about my morning routine (jogging up and down the stairs after forgetting many things) and sending myself for a short walk around my work grounds before I started.
During my working day, I’d made it to 7,400 steps which relieved me, as I was over halfway there! Determined not to fail on the first day, when I got home I put on my sportswear and running trainers, put my Fitbit into run mode and headed out.
Just as I was running up my driveway (pink and sweaty), I felt a buzz on my wrist, which signalled that I’d reached my daily goal! Woohoo!
A few kitchen dances while making dinner and some trips back and forth the kettle later, I finished the day on 11,575 steps.
Step count: 15,665
Resting HR: 63bpm
Feeling positive about the previous day’s success, I repeated my morning routine and smashed another quarter of the goal out before 9am. I already started to like this extra walk in the morning and really appreciated the fresh air before work.
I ended up having a very active day at work, but also made a conscious effort to take the stairs and to park further away from the entrance than normal. Surprisingly, as I was walking to my car after work I felt that familiar buzz and knew I’d completed my challenge once again.
Even though I’d got to my goal, I still fancied going for a run (I know, weird). I really enjoyed tracking my runs, especially the feature that told me which zone my heart rate was in; fat burn, cardio or peak.
Ending the day on 15,665 steps, I felt really good and it was clear that I’d worn myself out as I got a very rare 8 hours sleep!
Step count: 10,510
Resting HR: 62bpm
Sleep: 6hr 41min
After a great sleep, I was ready to face a new day. I was working from home on this day, so these would usually be my sedentary days. I was a little bit worried that I might not reach my target, but luckily Fitbit made it easy.
A feature I hadn’t noticed on my active days was that if you have been inactive for just under an hour, you get a buzz on your wrist with a reminder to get moving. They suggest taking 250 steps to stay active, but knowing I had 10,000 steps to do, I got up and did 500.
Along with this I ran on the spot whilst waiting for the kettle to boil and my soup to heat up. I also had a letter to post, so rather than waiting until I drove to the shops, I took a lunchtime walk to the post-box. The fresh air and short burst of exercise actually had me going into the afternoon with a lot more energy than usual.
Once I’d finished work, I had done ½ of my step goal, so decided to take a slightly longer running route. I got back just before I hit the daily goal and ended the day on 10,510 steps.
Step count: 12,723
Resting HR: 60bpm
Sleep: 7hr 1min
Just like the day before, I was working from home on this day, so knew I’d really need to try to get my steps up. I decided to get up a little earlier than usual and walk to the shop to get myself some fruit to snack on during the day.
I enjoyed my previous day’s walk so much that I did the same thing at lunchtime, except this time I didn’t have any errands, I just chose to get some fresh air.
I went out shopping and for dinner after work, so parked the car in the spot furthest away from the shops (less waiting around for a spot too, woo!). I didn’t really have to try to increase my steps while shopping as you do a surprising amount of walking while browsing!
We also ended up playing mini-golf after dinner, so I got some more steps in this way. Overall, this had been one of my favourite days in the challenge so far, as I managed to get fresh air during my working day and reached my goal doing things I really enjoy.
I also noticed that my resting heart rate has been gradually decreasing, which is a real big bonus!
Step count: 12,357
Resting HR: 57bpm
Sleep: 6hr 52min
Since noticing my resting heart rate was decreasing, I had an extra spurt of motivation. I was back at work today and taking my morning walk around the grounds. By the end of the working day, I’d hit ¾ of my goal.
Instead of going to a run, I decided to walk to the park as it was a really nice day. Getting outside more really was a great reward for this challenge and is something that I want to keep up with after it’s over.
By the end of the day, I’d clocked up 12,357 steps and spotted that my resting heart rate had decreased even more, to 57bpm! Result.
Step count: 10,975
Resting HR: 56bpm
Sleep: 6hr 17min
I had a lot of travelling to do on this day, so I knew I needed to use all of my non-travelling time wisely. So, I popped on my running shoes in the morning and smashed out a run that took me to just over 5,000 steps.
After travelling for 2 hours, I went for a walk in a nearby park and made sure I didn’t sit down. Having been in a car for so long, my legs were grateful for the stretch anyway!
As we were about to head back to the car to go home, I felt that buzz that I always look forward to as I hit 10,000 steps. To reward myself for still completing the challenge despite all the sitting down, I didn’t move for the rest of the evening… bliss.
Step count: 13,513
Resting HR: 56bpm
Sleep: 8hr 19min
The final day had come and to be honest, I didn’t really want it to end. I’d really enjoyed making more of a conscious effort to move and get out more. I felt like my mood was uplifted and I felt more motivated in my everyday life. I then realised that I didn’t need the challenge to do 10,000 steps a day, I could just push myself to weave some extra activity into my daily routine.
I went on a long walk around a reservoir to finish off the challenge and ended up completing the full 10,000 in one go. I managed to clock up an extra 3,000 just pottering around for the rest of the day.
Feeling very accomplished I settled down for another 8hr sleep… I clearly needed that. Ending on a resting heart rate of 56bpm made me feel even better, having dropped from 64bpm in just one week. I’m definitely determined to maintain or lower this even further!
Overall, I found this challenge really exciting. I didn’t find that I ever lacked motivation (maybe that would be different if I had done a longer challenge… a month, or a year even!), although I did have to make conscious decisions about being more active on the days that I knew I was going to be relatively sedentary.
I also think this challenge got me out of the house and into the fresh air more. Doing this is so beneficial for your mental health (find out more here) and I definitely felt uplifted after doing it more often. I really found that having my Fitbit Inspire HR helped to boost my motivation, as well as accurately tracking my every move. I made good use of most of the features and like being able to track my progress with each one of them.
I think my next goal will be to use the other exercise tracking features that I didn’t get a chance to use in this challenge; biking, swimming, weightlifting and interval training. Stay tuned.