How to do a family step challenge

By: Sarah Kimmel Werle

Get ideas for starting your own group challenge, and tips to keep track of everyone’s step count when everybody’s got a different device.

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Active Family | Step Challenge

Research shows that fitness trackers and apps can increase physical activity for the entire family. But if everyone has a different device, it takes a bit of finagling to track those steps in the same app. And sometimes it’s hard to keep everybody’s mind on the same challenge when everybody’s going in different directions every day. If your family is new to the idea of a step challenge or you’ve been setting your own daily step goals for a while now, here are a few ways to get everybody moving together.

First, make it a challenge

It wouldn’t be a challenge if there wasn’t a stretch goal. Start by writing down the average daily number of steps for everyone in the family. Then use those numbers to determine what a reasonable challenge might be for each family member. Mayo Clinic says to build slowly, adding 1,000 steps per day over the course of two weeks.

Pick your challenge

These four options work well for families with participants of all ages:

A daily step challenge: The winner is the person who takes the most steps in a day.

A daily step goal speed challenge: The winner is the person who hits the daily step goal first.

A streak challenge: The winner hits the daily step challenge goal for the most consecutive days in a row. You can also run a streak challenge over several weeks or days, or you can use a “last one standing” approach, where the challenge ends when there’s only one person with an active streak.

The most steps overall in a set timeframe: The winner is the person who takes the most steps overall in a specific timeframe, such as a week.

Gizmo Watch Step Counter | Step Challenge

How to track the step challenge: Go analog for ages 8-12

Even your 8-year-old can track their steps with the step counter in the Gizmo Watch 3. To protect your child’s privacy, the Gizmo Watch 3 doesn’t pair with any fitness tracking apps. But you can use a notebook, a dry-erase board or a chalkboard to track everyone’s results in a spot where the whole family can see. Everyone in the family can decorate their own individual tracking sections. At the end of the day, each family member simply adds their steps to the day’s total.

Using an analog tool to track steps from several different smartwatches and phones can be a great visual reminder and can keep your family’s goals top of mind.

How to track the step challenge: Try an app for ages 13 and up

Fitness apps can track more than steps. They often include measurement of other activities like swimming, biking or running and can help you keep tabs on your overall fitness. With these apps, if everyone downloads the app to their device and creates an account, then one person can invite the others into a challenge so all the data can be tracked in the application. Just make sure the app is ok for kids ages 13 and up.

Whatever technology you decide to use, doing a step challenge with your family can be a great way to start a new healthy habit. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you don’t all have the same devices or fitness apps — you can bridge the technology gap and still have fun!

The smartwatch designed with your child’s safety in mind: Gizmo Watch 3.

About the author:

Sarah Kimmel Werle is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their homes. She also gives quick tech tips daily on her Instagram account @FamilyTech.


The author has been compensated by Verizon for this article.

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