Million Step Challenge


Join the Challenge!

Many people have been asking about the “Million Steps To World A.S. Day” part of Walk Your A.S. Off and where the million steps come from. When conceiving this walk my initial hope was to find a sponsor to pledge a penny a step walked and logged by everyone participating. Finding sponsors sounds great right? But, as I work on health activism as an individual and not as a corporate entity or non-profit, I’m finding this task challenging. I truly believe as the community continues to rally around grassroots patient based efforts this will eventually change but it remains a slow trudge.

My friend John did the math and saw that it is possible to get one million personal steps before World A.S. Day. With 65 plus or minus days in each year’s challenge it can happen but it is most definitely not for everyone. If you are looking for a great challenge for active friends and family and people with AS who have a doctors approval, this is a wonderful challenge because it is possible with a concerted and determined effort.

In order to be able to have bragging rights and entry into the Million Steppers Club you are looking at approximately 15,000 steps per day or 7.5 miles or the daily 10,000 doctor recommended steps and a few long weekend walks. Last year John and I decided to attempt this. We had no idea if we could do it but here is what John said:

“A challenge: Is the goal of taking one million steps before World AS Day on May 4th, your personal goal? Or your team’s goal?

I bought my pedometer last week, and figured I take a baseline to see how many steps I take in my normal day. In my workday, I took about 6,000 steps (I have a desk job). Since there are 65 days between March 1st and May 5th, that should be about 400,000 steps total. (Sorry, I’m an engineer, and had to do the math).

Long ago, it was suggested that walking 10,000 steps a day will help you keep fit and healthy without the need for additional exercise. Most of us walk around 4,000-6,000 steps a day without even thinking about it. Even if you’re feeling bad, and don’t get out, you’ll still do around 2,000 steps.

I wanted to challenge myself, and figured if I publically state it, I’ll force myself to walk more.

So, my personal goal is to walk a million steps before World AS Day on May 4th.

I’m thrilled to be able to walk with fellow ASers, and hope you’ll join me in setting your own personal or team goals.”

I am so glad John brought this up & I decided to join him and state that my goal would be the same as John’s and I would attempt the million step challenge as part of my participation in Walk Your A.S. Off. I knew I might fall short but I was going to try.”

Well, last year I did fall short of my goal of walking the million step challenge but it will not dissuade me from trying again this year! We had 23 teams last year and we had 4 walkers enter into the Million Steppers Club! Will you be one of the next few?

I’m very, very excited! Who’s with us?

Please comment below if you’d like to attempt the Million Step Challenge this year!




19 comments on “Million Step Challenge
  1. I would love to take this challenge! Many of us on the ENDURANCE For Ankylosing Spondylitis team are taking this challenge. Our team is here to set the example of how taking charge of A.S. can be accomplished and people can be more physically mobile if they stick with regular exercise and stretching.

    I have actually set my personal goal at 5 million steps over the course of the 65 days, which translates into approximately 80,000 steps per day. Keep in mind that these steps can be achieved at 2,000 steps per mile on the bike, running, or swimming. Basically any 1 mile distance that is traveled by fuel solely from human energy, is worth 2000 steps.

    I have a few major triathlons coming up, so my plan is to incorporate my training into steps. At this point in my training, I am cycling about 175 miles( 350,000) per week, swimming about 5 miles(10,000 steps) per week, and running about 30 miles( 60,000 steps). The average person walks about 10,000 steps per day, which is 70,000 per week. That comes out to 490,000 steps per week. In order to meet my mark of 5,000,000 I need to step 538,462 steps per week.

    This should be attainable as my training increases. Please wish me luck.

    Please take into consideration: I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, but I am a sponsored triathlete, who performs in the top 5th percentile in racing endurance sports. This kind of challenge may not be for everyone.

    I wish everyone the best in this race! The main goal is to collectively inspire others to get moving and stay moving! That is why the race takes place over the course of 65 days…So people have enough time to generate habit forming exercise, with the worldwide support of A.S affiliated communities. It may hurt at first, but movement is proven to be beneficial!! Just stick with it and get to steppin’

    Please get your friends and networks involved and we can get to the moon!! Who knows, we may even have enough collective steps for a return flight!!

    -Helgi Olafson
    Executive Director
    Helgi Olafson Foundation
    “ENDURANCE For Ankylosing Spondylitis”

  2. Kelly Warner says:

    I would love to take up this challenge…. a little shy, but am gonna try.


  3. I am taking this challenge. I am mixing cycling and hiking to meet it…hopefully. I’ve been trying to get my body ready and my mind is set to do it. Ready to get steppin’ !!!

  4. LisaBerscheidLefebvre says:

    I am with you !!! If I have a reason to push myself I am usually more active…win-win situation as far as I can tell !!! My pedometer is not too accurate, but we have walk routes clocked out in kilometers… many steps in a km. ? I am only 5 ft tall and have a 27 inch leg !!!

  5. jinfogal says:

    I am going to try this challenge this year. Usually walking brings on a lot of pain for me, but I’m going to take baby steps, hoping I’ll do more the next year !!

    • JVisscher says:

      Joy! Good for you – just please make sure you do not push too hard. We are looking for goals that fit with where we are physically. We made this challenge initially for people who support those of us with AS, not for people with AS so please keep that in mind. There are a few of us taking this up! And, it does help to have the challenge before us. I tried to do this last year and fell very short. The good news is that I do think I can do more this year than last year! You go girl! Welcome to the Million Step Challenge! – Jenna

  6. JillB says:

    I have been walking 12,000 steps per day average (Thank you fitbit) for the past month, so I think I am ready for the challenge! I have just started using nordic walking sticks, and they really help take the pressure off the hips- I am getting less numbness in my feet, so I would highly recommend to anyone with AS to try.

  7. Gillian Eames says:

    Looking forward to recording my daily steps last year it encouraged me to walk round the park even on my bad days when my mobility was bad. We all know our capabilities and its not who does the most steps its a Worldwide challenge raising awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis . Happy that we have 2 UK MP’s on The Orange Apple Team who both have AS last year we had one joining in so that is a achievement that we have two this year

  8. That’s awesome Gillian!! I hope your team has alot of fun this year! Its a great challenge that helps people from all over the world get moving and stay moving, all while raising much needed awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis.

  9. Michele says:

    My boyfriend & I will be doing the million step challenge together. He was diagnosed with AS a year and a half ago. He responded well to initial treatment and since July he has been managing well without medication. We are really excited to participate in this healthy & active challenge!

  10. Brandy says:

    I’m going for the million step challenge!!! I think I can do it!!

  11. Sonja Safford says:

    I’ll give it a go! This is great motivation to start my spring walking. :)

  12. Mindy Hole says:

    I am walking for Tracy Jones who as A.S. I want my steps to count for her.

  13. Chris Campbell says:

    I use a cane to get around, but try to get out in my Co-op community and walk 2-3 times per week. I will do what I can to help beat this horrible disease that took my job away from me. Let’s go to Mars.

  14. Jennafer Ross says:

    I’m In and have a ream of people walking with me too!

    • JVisscher says:

      Hey Jennafer!

      Super excited to have you join this year!

      Team registration will be open early next week so keep your eyes open to our emails and Facebook page.

      Shortly after that you can get your teammates registered (this will give them an online step submission page)

      Please feel free to message me here or on our FB page. There is also a group page for team captains that we can add you to if you’d like.

      My best,
      Jenna (I’m a Jenna too :)

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Medical Disclaimer

*Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician or physical therapist. They can help provide modifications to suit your particular needs. Ask which exercises you should do and then check to see that you are doing them correctly.