I Tried Walking 10,000 Steps a Day for 31 Days

All the physical and mental changes that can happen with a 31-day 10,000 steps a day wellness experiment.

6 weeks ago, if you’d told me that I could maintain a 31-day streak of taking 10,000 steps every day, I would have laughed at you, and then gone on to eat a cupcake (or two).

6 weeks ago, my sneakers had lain unused for almost 2 years.

6 weeks ago, exercise and me just didn’t go together.

6 weeks ago, I’d never imagined that listening to podcasts could be so addictive (yes, despite Serial!).

6 weeks ago, I was in love with my body, but not so much with my attitude towards my health.

Today, I’ve got a 31-day streak of taking at least 10,000 steps a day in the bag. If I am allowed to brag, I will add that on most days I averaged 11,000 steps, and on weekends, the average was more like 15,000.

Today, more than any other time before, I am committed to creating a long-term healthy lifestyle for myself, and here’s the most important part – I’ve already started.

Today, I am proud of myself for committing to an exercise form for an entire month.

Today, I know that “sweat is awesome”.

Today, I am a 100% convinced that what works for someone else may not work for me.

Today, I am still far from achieving my fitness/weight goals, but what’s different is that I’ve kickstarted the process. I am making an effort to get there. It will take time, it will take more than 10,000 steps every day, but I will get there. And in my books, I call that progress.

Let me put some context to this whole 10,000 steps a day thing. Before I set up this challenge for myself, I was probably taking 3,000-4,000 steps a day (I say probably, because I wasn’t using my Fitbit Charge then).

My eating habits were moderately healthy, but I was prone to binge-eating when out with friends, and cola was (and continues to be) my bête noire. It doesn’t help that my work + commute has me sitting for close to 10-11 hours every week day. I faced an invariable energy slump every afternoon and overall, just didn’t feel “healthy enough”.

Then one fine day, early in July, something just snapped. I told myself that my past body issues do not matter anymore. I told myself that despite having failed many times before, I could try again. I told myself that only I could write my own story, and yes, the only one who could change it too.

The fact that I was (and am) soon approaching the big 3-0 was also playing on my mind. I didn’t want to reach that milestone without at least having made an honest attempt at creating a healthier and fitter body.

So, I let go of all my past stories and excuses and set myself a target of taking 10,000 steps every day ( might have been a huge reason behind setting up that particular challenge). For 31 days, I took 10,000 steps a day, every single day.

I fitted in a 30-45 minute walk into my schedule every weekday, and a Zumba class every Saturday and Sunday. I tweaked some of my eating habits and fell in love with overnight oats in the process. I started seeing a trip to the mall or grocery store as 5,000 easy steps. I started treasuring my walks. I fell in love with the sweatiness of it all. It also helped that everyone around me was such a cheerleader through those days.

I still had my missteps – a heavy duty lunch with office colleagues, a pizza slice too many, a glass (or two) of cola. I didn’t even lose as much weight as I wanted to. And as disappointing as that was, I didn’t let it derail me from my goal of taking 10,000 steps a day.

At the end of it all, I am just so proud of myself. Completing this challenge has been a very big deal for me and I am so kicked about taking my fitness up a notch in the next phase.

Cheers to successfully completing challenges, and taking on new ones!

I’d love to hear your fitness stories in the comments. And if you’re in need of some motivation, please feel free to drop me a line.

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