Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our global health was steadily deteriorating. Obesity rates have more than tripled since 1975, while rates of anxiety and depression have soared. On the current trajectory, the World Health Organization estimates that mental illness could cost the global economy as much as $16 trillion by 2030.
In fact, our health is in a state of serious concern. To make matters worse, COVID has only exacerbated the problem. In addition to the immediate impact of the virus on our long-term health, staying indoors and self-isolating have a major impact on our mental health. Experts say the mental damage from the social and emotional upheaval of COVID-19 caused by indoor isolation and forced self-isolation is likely to last a generation.
The return of walking
But a silver lining has emerged. After gyms were closed and social distancing guidelines were implemented, people started running outside to exercise and leave their homes.
People all over the world have rediscovered the joy of walking. Strava reports that walkers logged more than 668 million miles in 2021, a record for the platform, and that running/running apps like Go Jauntly, Nike Run Club, and MapMyWalk have seen double-digit growth in recent years. Walking is even a trend — the #hotgirlwalk hashtag on TikTok encourages users to walk about 4 miles a day and has more than 80 million views on TikTok.
All of this is big public health news. Studies have shown that walking has huge health benefits, including stimulating blood circulation, lowering blood sugar, boosting immunity and improving sleep quality. In fact, scientists have found that walking 2.5 hours a week — or just 21 minutes a day — can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. For those struggling with mental health, walking around the neighborhood can reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, while improving cognitive function and boosting creativity.
The best part? Unlike dedicated gyms or expensive home gym equipment, walking is free and accessible to most able-bodied people. For the vast majority of people, especially new exercisers, walking around the block is much more realistic and easier to achieve.
Even city governments can see the potential benefits of a happy and healthy population. After Copenhagen, one of the most walkable cities in the world, cities from Paris to Portland are starting to implement the 15-minute city concept (prioritizing pedestrians over cars and building communities so residents can walk almost anywhere in 15 minutes) ).
STEPN, reshaping the future of training
So why doesn’t everyone run? Although walking is free and available to all, statistics show that the vast majority of people don’t get enough exercise. Despite our best intentions, we’re only human—in the digital age, where distractions, emails, and TV shows often overwhelm us, we don’t go outside, but stay inside staring at screens.
Even with the booming new fitness tech industry, from wearables like the Apple Watch to connected fitness machines like the Peloton, we still don’t get enough exercise throughout the day. So how do you address the human element of fitness?
Say hello to the booming moving industry.
For many people, mustering the courage to walk out the door can be a daunting task. Nike Run Club and Strava have helped by offering incentives and training certificates, but taking it a step further, a new class of startups wants to pay you to train.
STEPN’s mission is to help millions live healthier lives, connect them to the web3 and help combat climate change. Users buy NFT sneakers and then walk, run or jog outdoors to earn tokens. They can then exchange their earnings into external accounts or reinvest it into the ecosystem to increase their profitability. Read how STEPN brought the Web3 revolution to fitness.
Since launching in December 2021, STEPN has grown at an exponential pace, from just 1,500 daily active users in January 2022 to touching 100,000 . Drawn by its healthy incentives — dedicated users can earn an income of many dollars every day — STEPN has amassed a loyal following and an enthusiastic fitness community.
Most promisingly, users are trading fitness transformation stories that are off the charts. Testimonials have flooded the project’s Discord, with users saying that they haven’t run in a very decade, but — because of the addictiveness of STEPN’s interface — have actually developed a daily running habit.
Infact, the whole segment of incentivizing fitness is studying momentum. as an example, WHOOP, a billion-dollar wearables company, actually pays its employees to induce quality sleep. On the govt side, Singapore partnered with Apple Watch in 2020 to reward its citizens for staying healthy.
Riding this wave, STEPN is poised to require off and is devotedto assemblinga strong platform that may encourage millions to boost their health and develop a daily exercise routine. it’s the potential to impact a large population while introducing an entire market of runners to the web3 world.
Currently, STEPN is already helping thousands improve their lives by making simple changes to their lifestyle — as simple as taking a walk round the block. within the future, STEPN even has plans to partner with universities to double down on improving users’ health with science-backed research and studies.
This is only the beginning. With global health during a more concerning state than ever, STEPN looks to be a vital piece of the puzzle, helping improve the collective well-being of our global population one walker at a time. Stay tuned.