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Step It Up! Challenge Becomes Stampede for Better Health

When I accepted Fitbit’s two-week Step It Up! Challenge, my hope was that we would tap into America’s competitive spirit and get everyone to walk more. The challenge was designed so that folks could team up and invite others to step it up, too. While some participants seemed to really enjoy competing and comparing their step count with mine, the real goal wasn’t about who walks more or less. It was about establishing a habit that would set us on a path to a stronger, healthier nation.

A screenshot from the Step It Up! Challenge dashboard shows how many steps were taken during the two week challenge.

The response was spectacular. According to Fitbit, a total of 615,390 people joined the challenge and, from October 13-26, we took almost 61 billion steps together! That’s enough to circle the planet 1,152 times. But the most important number of all might be 22. An average of just 22 minutes of brisk walking every day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes -- both of which cost us dearly in terms of lives lost and health care dollars spent.

My thanks to everyone who stepped it up and walked or rolled their way to a healthier future, especially our “Mover-in-Chief,” First Lady Michelle Obama, who was kind enough to deliver a rousing pep talk to participants at the halfway point in the competition.

First Lady Michelle Obama cheered on the challenge participants in this video message.

Even though the challenge has ended, I hope everyone experienced how good it feels to make physical activity a part of their daily routine.