This September the Langley Group stepped up and took on the Steptember challenge. Here's how we did!
Most of you have probably heard of the ‘10,000 steps a day’ fitness mantra; if you own any form of fitness tracker 10,000 steps a day is the daily activity goal. Well, this September the Langley Group Team embarked on the STEPtember challenge; taking 10,000 steps a day for 28 days straight to raise money for people with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement.
Sounds easy right?
According to the 2011-12 Australian Heath Survey, Australian adults average 7,400 steps a day, with fewer that one in five adults recording 10,000 steps a day, and the average office worker taking roughly 3,000 steps a day! Exercise psychologists at Edinburgh University have estimated that the Average Briton covers roughly 130 kilometers less a year on foot than ten years ago while in contrast, other research shows that the Amish, who shun all technology, average a mighty 18,425 steps a day.
It is therefore safe to say that 10,000 steps a day for the Langley Group was actually quite the challenge! We were stunned to realise just how creatively we had to think to get our 10,000 steps in each day!
So where did this recommended 10,000 steps a day idea come from?
The answer is Japan, in the early 1960’s. Dr Yoshiro Hatano led a team of researchers who determined that most people took less than 3,500 to 5,000 steps a day, and that increasing steps to 10,000 a day would burn about 20% of their daily calorie intake. Thus, increasing the public’s steps meant a slimmer and healthier Japan. Simple, yet highly effective.
This caught on quickly, and the Japanese even named their pedometers “manpo-kei”, which translates as 10,000 steps meter.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the early 90’s and the modern pedometer and Dr Hatano’s 10,000 steps idea was beginning to reach places such as America, as an antidote to the rise of inactivity, fast food consumption and obesity.
Building on Hatano’s work, more modern studies show that walking has a myriad of benefits including boosting mood, lowering stress, improving sleep and quickening thinking, as well as controlling blood-sugar levels, reducing cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes and enhancing lung function.
So what was our experience of 10,000 steps a day?
Doing Steptember as an organisation motivated us all to be more active, and we all thoroughly enjoyed supporting and motivating each other to keep on stepping, with just a teensy bit of competitiveness thrown in! The fact that we could raise money for such a worthwhile cause was the icing on the cake.
“The Steptember Challenge began as an opportunity to support a great cause whilst connecting more regularly with my colleagues. I work remotely so this provided the chance to contribute to a shared goal and enjoy the camaraderie along the way. The benefits far exceeded my expectations in several ways."
“Extended walks really helped me to feel more present - I was mindful of the feeling of sand between my toes, sun and wind on my body, the sounds of the ocean and the different birds, and the joy of seeing seagulls play out their courtship and whales perform in the bay - my daily dose of nature was tonic for my soul, positive emotions in abundance and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this place where I live”.
“Even within the first week I felt stronger and more toned. It motivated me to think of other small steps I could take to improve my overall health.”
“I loved the discipline of making sure I got my 10,000 steps and supporting a great cause, getting fit and working as a team! Win, win, win!”
“As I have meandered through my neighbourhood I have explored new routes to the beach, noticed houses and gardens that I had never seen before and shared in delightful conversations with the locals in my community.”
“Seeing others in the team log their steps encouraged me to want to do more!”
“I am trying to exercise more – so Steptember really helped. So did taking my phone with me on walks so that I could listen to podcasts and take photos of my surroundings – it made me feel very grateful to live in this beautiful country!”
So whether you are looking for ways to get fitter and healthier, raise money for charity, see more of your neighbourhood, make opportunities to be more mindful, or just get people together for a fun challenge, then in more ways than one, stepping may be the way forward!