Steptember has given loads of people motivation to get move

There is nothing like a little bit of competition to get people moving.

FLAT AND FAST: City2Surf women's winner Celia Sullohern, pictured middle, says the Fernleigh 15 is a good starting point for people looking to do a long or short event as "you can really get into a rhythm". Picture: Marina Neil

FLAT AND FAST: City2Surf women's winner Celia Sullohern, pictured middle, says the Fernleigh 15 is a good starting point for people looking to do a long or short event as "you can really get into a rhythm". Picture: Marina Neil

I have noticed a bit more of it in the office this past week with several co-workers getting up and moving and talking about their “steps” and getting their “step count up”.

A good portion of the office have taken on the Steptember challenge, where you take 10,000 steps a day in September to raise funds and awareness for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

That meant there were record numbers at the office weekly lunchtime run/walk club this week, all motivated to reach their daily target.

Wearing a pedometer may not seem like a huge motivating factor to get moving but it really is. It is there, constantly reminding you of how many steps you have, or haven’t, taken.

Some in the workplace have made it a competition and are motivating themselves that way.

I first did Steptember a couple of years ago when I was working from home around kids. I found I could clock up 10,000 steps a lot easier than now I am back in the office.

I have found it surprising how many steps you do take doing day-to-day activities, such as house chores, running errands,  dropping the kids off at school or chasing a two-year-old around at the park.

I signed the kids up too but thought it might be a stretch to get them to 10,000 steps in a day but, in fact, they are doing it much easier than me because they rarely stop.

I find it interesting to see what activities result in the most steps.

On Saturday I reached my step count with 10 sets of Merewether stairs (2000 steps), doing the groceries (2500), housework and incidental activity (2500) and dancing at a friend’s 40th (2000). 

But there are plenty other ways to get your step count up.

According to, the Australian Government’s Physical Activity Guidelines suggest being active on most, preferably all, days every week.

It suggests accumulating “150 to 300 minutes (two-and-a-half hours to five hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week”.

It says to include muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week.

Find an event

If you are looking for inspiration to get more steps into your day, sign up for a community running or walking event.

I am going to do the Fernleigh 15 on October 22 for the first time and was encouraged when event organiser, and Rio Olympian, Scott Westcott told me the track was conducive to “run fast” because it is an old railway line and not overly challenging for newcomers.

This year’s women’s Cty2Surf winner Celia Sullohern, who spent four years in Newcastle while at university and holds the women’s course record for the Fernleigh 15, says it is one of her favourite running tracks.

“Being pretty flat and straight and a good surface means you can really get into a rhythm, that’s pretty unique,” she told me.

It also has the team event this year, which means you only have to cover 3km. I am told Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser has entered a team and there are hundreds of school kids signing up, which is great to see.

Healthy habits

Spring is also the perfect time to get yourself back on track with what you are eating.

Mullen Health in Hamilton are offering a free Healthy Habits Challenge from September 18 to October 1, designed to get people back to the basics of healthy eating.

I am fairly active but my diet is never as good as it could be so I am thinking about giving this a go.

You can find out more at, including information on a free information session on September 12.

Spring loaded #2 workout

If you are time poor, and most of us, break up your daily exercise. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Here are three short sessions you can do in a day. Or add them together for one workout.

Morning: 2min run on the spot/skip and range of motion stretches. 3-5 x (10-20 squats, 5-10 push-ups, 20 mountain climbers or standing shuffles, 10 dead lifts, 5-10 bent-over rows).

Lunch: 15-20min walk or jog.

Evening: 2min run on the spot/skip and ROM stretches. 3-5 x (10-20 lunges, 5-10 bicep curl with shoulder press, 10 squat jumps, 5-10 triceps extension).

Upcoming fitness events

Walk 4 Hope, September 16, Croudace Bay: A 4km walk raising funds and awareness for Huntington’s Disease.

Tomaree Trail Run Festival, September 17, Fingal Bay: Offering courses of 21.1km, 11.5km, 6km and a kids 500m, each trail offers varying terrain and varying degrees of challenge. Trails feature beach and bush terrain and expansive coastal views.

Fernleigh 15, October 22, Fernleigh Track: This 15-kilometre course can be done as an individual or in a five-person relay and is a good course for newcomers.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother.