The 10 things we've learned on our one million steps journey (so far)

It is just over a week since we started the Inspiration North One Million Steps challenge.

Our crew of merry walkers has clocked up 2,030,765 steps in 8 days! That is over 1,000 miles...The equivalent of walking from Newcastle to Dover, then from Calais to Monaco!

I thought I’d share some of the top 10 experiences and lessons of our journey.

1. Build up to 10,000

Before such a challenge, it is worth building up to 10,000 steps per day. If you work from home like we do, we might only cover 3,000 steps per day. So, we took a week beforehand to get into a routine of having a walk each day. Quite a shock to the body otherwise!

2. Have proper footwear (uh hum...Michelle)...

Walking 10,000 steps or about 5 miles per day, your feet will thank you for wearing appropriate shoes and socks. Blisters in week one can, literally, be a real pain.

3. Get stepping early

This may depend on your routine, but we get ourselves up an hour earlier to get our steps in first thing in the morning. It feels like a great achievement to have walked a few miles before breakfast and the day begins. We have felt energised and ready to get on with work. So much can happen through the day that we may not have the drive or time to get out after work, so this works for us.

4. Vary the walks.

Variety is the spice of life after all. So, where possible we have changed the routes through the week and at weekends, we have taken ourselves off to other places like Whitley Bay or Corbridge to bring changes of scenery.

5. Reward yourself (now and then)

Life is meant to be enjoyed so with all this extra exercise, some treats occasionally are warranted in our view. Be this pastries, gin or a takeaway, pick something that you love. We are fans of pain au chocolat and cakes!

6. Fewer smilers before 8am

You may not be surprised to hear that Michelle and I will smile and say good morning to people we pass on our walks. From our experiences it appears that those out before 8am are less likely to be as chirpy and welcoming as the post-8am walkers, joggers and dog walkers. Perhaps they are very focused on their mission to get their task done asap...

7. Essential exercise

I personally find it very difficult to switch off. But our daily morning walks are giving dedicated time to exercise and getting outdoors. As entrepreneurs, it is very easy to just get another hour or two in front of the computer to get more done. We are certainly already feeling fitter and losing some lockdown pounds from all the snacking!

8. Solid chat time

How often do you make time to have focused chat time with your partner? On a walk of 45-90 minutes, there is such a great opportunity to talk about life goals, business ideas, what to have for dinner etc. Some great ideas and conversations have come from this time together.

9. Being Mindful

Walking through the woods, by the sea, seeing people’s gardens, we have started to pay more attention to and savour all the variety of views, smells, sounds. The insects, flowers, changes in the local environment and taking pictures as we go. How often do we just skip through life without really paying attention to simple things? This has been a great exercise for us in spotting small things.

10. Motivating others.

You may not be part of our challenge this time. And 10,000 steps over 100 days may be of no interest to you. What we do hope, however, is that it inspires you to get out for a walk, explore the world around you or visit somewhere new. Savour what makes you happy, have a cup of coffee in the sunshine, grab a cake, and say hi to some new people.

In just one week, we feel more energised, mentally well, and even more optimistic about the future.

And these are small steps (forgive the pun) each day to create moments to enjoy and feel happier.

What can you do today or this week to make some positive changes too?

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