Walking for fitness can get boring. It’s kinda like the difference between a hurricane and small stream. The Weather Channel doesn’t show up to watch the stream slowly transform rocks into smooth stones. They love those Category 5 monsters though. But, not a single rock has ever been smoothed by the intense and short lived power of a hurricane.
Walking for fitness is just like that stream. It takes a long, consistent effort to bring about transformation. And, that journey can get boring. I understand that. As much as I love walking, the relentless nature of aiming for the same goal day after day after day after day can get mind numbing.
That’s why I turn it into a game.
Making a game out of my daily step targets keeps me engaged and prevents boredom. It also transformed what started out as “exercise” into something that is now a natural part of my lifestyle. Ultimately, my motivation for fitness is far bigger. I want to age well. I want health freedom for the rest of my life. But, making it a game keeps it fun NOW.
There are two general ways to do this. You can compete against others and you can compete against yourself.
Competition With Others
This one is pretty straight forward. You join a group and try to get more steps than everybody else.
Fitbit makes group competition very easy. You can find one that’s already established on the Fitbit website. There are thousands of groups that are organized by different categories like specific step-goals, where you live, how old you are, life circumstances, interests, and more.
For example, I belong to a group of people all born the same year. I’m competing against men and women around the world who are my age. There are more than 600 people in this open group. The Fitbit website shows step totals for the month as well as the past seven days. I like to stay top ten in both. There are no prizes, just a nice ego boost.
I also joined a Fitbit group started by my employer. It’s a closed group for my work colleagues only. There are prizes involved here. We can win extra vacation days as well as contributions to our Health Savings Accounts. Because I know these people (and most of them are younger than me) I like to be number one each month.
And, lastly we have a small family group that my sister set up. There are about ten of us in this one. Again, no prizes, just bragging rights.
All three of these groups are on the Fitbit website. You can search for groups under the Community tab. Most groups have names that indicate the common denominator, like “10,000 Steps a Day”. It also doesn’t cost anything to join a group. You can probably find several that would be a perfect fit for you and your situation.
Another feature Fitbit offers is specific challenges with people who are your Fitbit friends. They have four available that last anywhere from a single day to a full week. You invite your friends, start moving, and see who has the most steps at the end of the challenge. You can find these on your Fitbit app. Just click the Challenges icon.
Competition With Yourself
As much as I like competing against others, I really love competing against myself. Here are the different ways I’ve done this.
My current 20k One Year Step Challenge is my biggest game ever. The goal is to get 20,000 steps every single day for a full year without any breaks. (Daily Update HERE)
I took what I was already doing…getting 20,000 steps or close to it, and made it a bigger challenge for a full year. I ramped up the stakes even more by making it public. I also added an extra layer by creating a daily update. I started all that on September 1, 2018.
I’ve written about the importance of building a chain of fitness wins to establish a daily habit (HERE). Since my habit was already established I needed a way to take what I was generally doing and make it even more fun. To be clear, I had never done 20,000 steps every day for a full year before I started this 20k Challenge. And, I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t made a game out of it.
Another way I gamify my walking is to super-size my goals for a single day, week, or month. I can either aim for a bigger challenge than 20,000 steps or go for a new personal record.
My one-day PR is 52,367 steps. I did that almost four years ago. I’d eventually like to see if I can reach 60,000 in one day, but that would take almost ten hours of walking. A bit of prep would need to happen first. In the meantime, a 30,000 step day every now and then becomes a game for me.
My one week PR is 262,377 steps. That was seven days of getting between 35,000 and 40,000 steps every day. That was pretty intense, but it was part of my big One Month Million Step Challenge. Yep…I wanted to see if I could hit 1,000,000 steps in a single month. I’ll tell that story another time. It was pretty epic…and pretty fun. I think I’d like to do that again sometime.
I also can turn my daily step goals into a game of time. In other words, how early in the day can I reach 20,000? This is something I’ll do on the weekends. I love hitting the target before 12p. I recently did that in DC. I wanted to see all the monuments and reach 20k before lunch time. I took pictures and wrote an article about that fun challenge. You can read it HERE
So, yes…walking for fitness can get boring, but there are ways to turn it into a game. I hope some of these ideas, whether it’s competing with others, or yourself can add a layer of fun to what you’re doing. The real goal, though, is to transform what you may consider your “exercise” into lifestyle fitness.
If you struggle with motivation to stick with fitness this blog will help. Don’t be intimated by the title. That’s my goal…not yours. But, my bigger goal is to help you start a fitness journey that has doesn’t stop and builds momentum. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone and to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get an email with a link to each motivating article the moment it’s published.