30-day walking challenge: step your way to better shape

Take our walking challenge to increase your daily steps, tone your entire body and improve your general health and fitness in just 30 days

Man and woman out for a stroll during their 30-day walking challenge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to our 30-day walking challenge, designed to help you move more every day in order to keep your body fit, active and toned.

It's no secret that the amount of physical movement you do each day, without long periods of sitting, has one of the greatest impacts on your health and fitness. And an easy way to monitor this is to track - or, if needed, increase - your daily step count.

Your trainer for this walking challenge is Joanna Hall, who holds an MSc in Sports Science and is the creator of the Walkactive technique, the scientifically-verified effective walking system for everyone. It’s been proven to anti-age your posture, whittle your waistline and tone your body - all through walking. Sounds good? Let’s get started!

30-day walking challenge: what you'll need

To take this challenge you’ll need to be able to count the number of steps you do each day. Our recommended way to do this is with an activity tracker. If you don't already own one, we've selected the best fitness trackers, with devices to suit all budgets from brands such as Fitbit, Huawei, Garmin and more. And if it's the former that takes your fancy, we've also picked the very best Fitbits on the market today.

We also advise ensuring that you're wearing suitable footwear when you're getting your steps in - that's footwear that is comfortable, breathable and supportive. Take a look at our pick of the best shoes for walking for some suitable options.

How to do the 30-day walking challenge

Our 30-day walking challenge is best suited to beginners as a way to supplement your daily movement, with three levels to choose from (see below). It's a great way to work towards regularly walking 10,000 steps a day, a figure that is generally accepted as a sound target for overall health and wellbeing.

It's all about fitting extra activity into your busy day, using walking to lose weight, up your daily activity levels and gently tone your entire body. And the good news is that it’s super simple!

The challenge has three different levels - which one you take on will depend on your current activity levels. Before you start the challenge, use your fitness tracker to record the number of steps you take for three consecutive days, then divide the total by three.

  • If your daily average is less than 5,000, opt for the Novice Level
  • If your daily average is between 5,000 and 7,500, go for the Intermediate Level
  • If your daily average is 7,500 +, choose the Whizz Level

Once you've established which level is suitable for you, you'll then follow the daily and weekly targets set out below. If you find that your level is too easy, switch to a more advanced one – the key thing is the consistency of your efforts.

Do the daily walks in increments and the two additional 'booster' weekly walks when you can fit them in (we suggest the weekend, but find the times that work for you).

And finally, to really make this plan effective for your body, be sure to apply Joanna's scientifically-proven Walkactive form advice, outlined in the top tips section at the end of this article.

Your 30-day walking challenge plan

Daily step targets

Days 1 - 7

Novice: 5,000 steps daily

Intermediate: 7,000 steps daily

Whizz: 7,500 steps daily

Days 8-14

Novice: 5,550 steps daily

Intermediate: 7,500 steps daily

Whizz: 8,000 steps daily

Days 15 - 22

Novice: 6,000 steps daily

Intermediate: 8,000 steps daily

Whizz: 9,000 steps daily

Days 21 - 30

Novice: 6,500 steps daily

Intermediate: 8,500 steps daily

Whizz: 10,000 steps daily

Additional 'booster' walks

Twice a week, do two additional brisk walks - we suggest fitting them in at the weekend, but find the times that work for you. Each should take 10-15 minutes, building up to 20-25 minutes.

Days 1-7

Novice: An extra 1,200-1,500 steps twice a week

Intermediate: An extra 1,500 steps twice a week

Whizz: An extra 1,700 steps twice a week

Days 8–14

Novice: 1,500-1,800 steps twice a week

Intermediate: An extra 1,700 steps twice a week

Whizz: An extra 1,800 steps twice a week

Days 15-22

Novice: An extra 1,800 steps twice a week

Intermediate: An extra 2,000 steps twice a week

Whizz: An extra 2,500 steps twice a week

Days 23–30

Novice: An extra 2,000 steps twice a week

Intermediate: An extra 2,500 steps twice a week

Whizz: An extra 3,000 steps twice a week

30-day walking challenge: top tips

Walk right. Use Joanna’s Walkactive quick technique to make sure you’re using the right muscles, reduce joint stress, and trim, tone and improve your overall body shape.

  • Neck: Think about the distance between your ear lobes and shoulders - holding your head up improves the mobility of your upper back and stops hunched shoulders.
  • Arms: Think flowing pendulum - no tense, power walking arms.
  • Hips: Lift your abdominals in and up to flatten your tummy and keep your bottom pert.
  • Feet: Try to have a soft, pliable roll through the whole foot, from heel pad to toes. Getting this right will lift your bottom and streamline your thighs.

Enlist others. Want to make sure you stick to the challenge? Then why not get some of your friends and colleagues to take it with you? Keep a record of who hits their target each day and you could even compete to see who walks the most steps over the whole 30 days.

Stay on-track. Miss your target one day? Don’t worry – add up the total steps for days 1-7, 8-14 or 15-22, or 23-30 and make sure you’ve achieved the total by the end of that section.

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We cater for all difficulty levels here. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner in the world of fitness or you're gearing up for your tenth marathon: we're all moving towards the same goal – creating a healthier, happier you. From guides on getting started doing walks around the block, to creating the perfect work-from-home space, to eating to fuel your first triathlon. It's all here.