Small steps. Big impact.


The Magic of 10,000 steps


When you join Fitbit, the default goal we set for each member is the magical number of 10,000 steps a day (you can also choose to customize your goal).  And while this may not be the first time you’ve heard that goal, it might be more meaningful, and motivating, to understand its origins.

The Japanese first started using the 10,000 steps a day number, as part of a marketing campaign! (to help sell pedometers).  Since that initial campaign however, medical authorities around the world have agreed that 10,000 is a healthy number to aim for. The American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.

10,000 steps a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for disease and help you lead a longer, healthier life. The benefits are many:  lower BMI, reduced waist size, increased energy, and less risk for Type II diabetes and heart disease.  In fact, a recent study of the 10,000 steps a day method reported conclusive health benefits.

10,000 steps daily is approximately 5 miles.  Unless you have a very active lifestyle or profession, you probably don’t reach 10,000 steps on a given day without putting some effort into your activity.  This could be a lifestyle change such as walking to work, or the addition of an exercise routine to your day.

Another reason to do it?  For most people, it’s convenient, free and simple to do with just a little change to your daily routine.  Working towards a 10,000 step a day goal?  Good for you!  Get motivated with one of our Fitbit groups, like 5k-6k steps a day.  Already mastered 10,000? Maybe Active Maintainers is for you.,2933,587126,00.html

31 Responses leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010

    I have a pretty desk-bound job and find that I don’t get more than 3-4,000 steps in a day without effort. I have found that I need to augment my regular activity with two 30-minute walks a day to get to 10,000.

  2. November 22, 2010

    I work from home and still manage to log 6000-8000 through my normal routine… I guess having four kids helps! It doesn’t take too much effort to move that number up to 10 000. I like that fitbit has customizable goals. The last device I used kept putting my goal lower than my average, which is never going to help me lose weight.

    Looking forward to receiving my fitbit!

    • JDawg permalink
      July 12, 2013

      I just got mine yesterday and I have gotten used to all the features. I love that it presets the appropriate goals for you to work toward, and tracking sleep time is awesome. I haven’t had a decent nights sleep since I heard the pop in my back all those years ago. This really is a great device. I think logging the food you eat will really help to lose weight. It did back in the 80s when a doctor recommended I do that to lose weight. I lost about 65 pounds and felt a lot better. Unfortunately a back injury and 30 years put me back in the same boat. Good luck!

  3. Rachel permalink
    August 21, 2012

    I love my Fitbit! I have had it since June 27th and have lost 16.5 lbs simply by making a few small changes. I love tracking my food, my activity and earning badges. It really is the easiest thing I have ever done! :) Thank you thank you for making sometime that works so well for me!

  4. Diane permalink
    September 29, 2012

    I’m 69 and have not weighed in the 130’s since I was in my 30’s!
    The fitbit has really worked for me. My goal each day is 10,000 steps and now I am 22 lbs less.
    Once I loose another 8-10 lbs I will probably maintain on the fitbit forever…

    • Teacher permalink
      October 23, 2013

      wow. nice. Wish I could lose that weight. Guess thats what I am hoping for too. So far I havent really noticed anything. I am not gonna quit though.

      • Guy permalink
        March 27, 2014

        It’s 70% diet. You’re not going to lose any weight no matter how many steps are taken if you’re not pairing fitbit with my fitness pal and logging everything you eat. I was having trouble losing weight even watching what I eat. I got my fitness pal and realized that the stuff I was eating wasnt as healthy as I thought and I was eating way too much. I’m down 8 lbs in 2 weeks since linking the 2 apps.

      • Ramona permalink
        June 23, 2014

        That’s good that you’re not giving up. I started out walking about 5 years ago…started w/30 minutes and kept increasing in small increments. My goal now is 10,000+ steps. You will feel better. You might want to check your daily caloric intake. You may be taking in more calories than you use. Just a suggestion.

  5. January 24, 2013

    I started with and learned the proper way to eat … then I found Steps To Good Health and learned how to walk my way healthy … then I bought the Fitbit Zip and linked it to my account at MyFitnessPal now the two work together to keep me on track and by the way … I’ve lost 54 pounds so far and want to lose about 10 more. You have all saved my life … Barb … age 62 … and YES I do walk a minimum of 10,000 steps each and every day.

  6. April 24, 2013

    I find the notion of walking 10,000 steps a day quite funny in the way it is universally accepted in non-English speaking countries like Japan. The Japan Health Promotion and Fitness Foundation otherwise known as The Kenko Nippon 21 Group recommends between 8000 and 8500 steps a day depending on gender. Living and working in Japan, I’ve come to realize how hard it can be to achieve this ‘bottom line.’ For people without access to public transportation not including the bus, the amount of time spent walking throughout the day is very little to say the least.

    What do you say about taking the Kenko Nippon 21 “Walking Challenge?” Trying to take 8000 steps a day may be more realistic, don’t you think? (If only just a little)

  7. Barbara B permalink
    June 20, 2013

    I have a desk-bound job, so even though I exercise after work and do errands, I still don’t do more than 7,000 steps a day. So I found a solution. I now use a stepper under my desk while I work. This way I can add from 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day while at my desk.

    • david sai permalink
      October 19, 2013

      Try doing running on the spot.

  8. Sam permalink
    December 3, 2013

    10,000 steps = 5 miles = ok

    5 miles / 30 minutes = 10 mph! = a sub-3 hour marathon!!

    I wish. But I’m having fun anyway.

    • Phil permalink
      February 26, 2014

      Sam, I may not know what I am talking about; however, this is how it strikes me. When they suggest you should exercise 30 minutes a day I do not imagine that they then think you will sit in a chair without moving for the rest of the day. The 30 minutes would be in addition to all your normal walking activity during the day. Therefore the 30 minutes is not to equal 5 miles but instead completes your 5 miles. Just a thought, but I may be wrong.

      I just got my Fitbit today and I am going to aim at the 10,000 per day. We shall see how difficult or easy that will be for me.

      • Willie permalink
        May 3, 2014

        Phil, you pegged it! The 30 minutes adds to the normal day to get you close to the 10,000. I think, however, for the average American it probably takes closer to 45 minutes.

  9. Tiffany permalink
    February 26, 2014

    I’m a stay at home mom with 2 kids and live in a 2 story house. Yesterday I didn’t workout and achieved almost 16,000 steps as I was cleaning house. Not everyday is like like that but now that I’m aware of it I no longer seek the closest parking spot and instead park further out to get in extra steps. I’ve only had my fitbit for 2 weeks and I love it. Down 4 pounds and like others I have my eating in my fitness pal and it syncs into fitbit. I love it!

  10. Sandy permalink
    March 25, 2014

    Hi everyone! Is there a way to make Fitness Pal and Fitbit to link up? I love my Fitbit, but it would be really nice if it could link up to My Fitness Pal as well.

    Thanks for any help!

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 27, 2014

      If you open MyFitness Pal and click on settings (which is 3 horizontal bars) and then click on Apps and Devices, you will get a list of apps which includes Fitbit. Then there are a couple steps where you have to enter your Fitbit login info and connect. Pretty simple.

    • Julie permalink
      March 27, 2014

      Go into MyFitnessPal and click on settings (3 horizontal bars on upper left) and then click on Apps and Devices. You will get a list of apps and select Fitbit. Then you will have to enter your Fitbit login info and connect. Pretty simple.

    • ay hole alyx permalink
      May 27, 2014

      Accupedo links to myfitnesspal. That’s what I use.
      10k isn’t as bad as I thought it would be before I tried it. I’m actually doing about 15k daily now :)

  11. Deana permalink
    April 1, 2014

    I have been walking my behind off for the past three weeks that I got the fitbit zip. I feel great and have more energy and Ive been eating salads and raw veggies everyday for lunch instead of carbs, then a reasonable dinner. I have gained two pounds. I am not stopping, but I have to say im devastated and I dont understand. Im exhausteed and Ive been trying so hard. :(

  12. Heather permalink
    May 1, 2014

    I bought a Fit Bit several months back and weighed then around 168. I have a desk job but luckily I am able to also move around during the day as well. On my 15 min. breaks I walk. My daily goal now is set at 11,500 but rarely a day goes by that I’m not logging 12,500. Granted there are days when I need the steps I just start running in place until I’ve reached my goal. This little Fit Bit keeps me motivated on a daily basis. My weight now is 153. I’m 58 years old and feel better now than I have in years. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get moving and get healthy.

  13. Fiona permalink
    May 13, 2014

    I have had my fitbit since march I work average 12 to 14000 steps a day have a personal trainer 3 times a week do a spin and abs class, have given up drinking for 3 months and haven’t lost a pound I am not overweight but a couple of pound off wouldbe nice for all the effort !

  14. Debra RN permalink
    May 13, 2014

    I’m a nurse and work in the OR. I easily get in over 17,000 on an average day, and that’s just at work.

  15. Margaret Robbins permalink
    June 5, 2014

    I have three breaks a day, on my phone I have walking mate, each date it recalculates my steps, I walk around the building where I walk three times a day 2 breaks (15 minutes)and one lunch (3.4 hr), and I go over 10,000 steps a day. It takes discipline, I had several people doing it and they gave up, but I have continued for 6 weeks and have lost 9 lbs, I am 62 and steadfast. I have to lose 50 lbs, I weighed 207, 5’4″, I have to lose weight due to HBP and border line diabetic. No way will I take a needle, phoebia really bad. So I have no choice but to straighten up and fly right. I pray doing the time I walk and ask my Father for help, and He is true to strenghtening me. I pray you all for strenght in your endeavors.

    • Anonymous permalink
      June 16, 2014

      Congratulations! you are inspiring

  16. Christian Page permalink
    July 22, 2014

    I am 22 Years old, i have been very over weight for 3 years now currently sitting at ~270lbs.
    I got the FitBit Flex last Saturday and i have found the “friends list” to be very motivational. I have been competing with them and find it easy to reach 10k steps in a day. I work 9 hours a day, so i walk 30 minutes during my lunch break and 1 hour after work. I hope everyone else finds FB motivational in some way :)

  17. Lady permalink
    August 23, 2014

    On my treadmill, I can walk 1,000 steps in 15 minutes. Everyone is saying 10,000 steps a day. But for me that would take 4,000 steps per hour, thus 8,000 steps in two hours, and 10,000 steps would actually take me 2 1/2 hours. This sounds like a lot of time to put aside for exercise. And my estimates are different than others who said one hour for 10,000 steps. But I can try to work up to that amount of time, gradually.

  18. Antredd permalink
    September 23, 2014

    Walking 10,000 steps a day seemed impossible at first for me. I work at a school, and since I have to walk around the campus several times a day to pick up my 4th graders off the playground, I average about 4,000 steps at work .Also, I walk on the treadmill at least 30-45 mins a day, and with that and my normal activities at work, I am still averaging about 8,000 steps a day. So what I do to get to my 10,000 step goal is using my Fitbit to help by doing some extra walking around my house even if that means walking up and down my stairs 20-40 times after walking on my treadmill to get in those 10,000 steps.

  19. Angela permalink
    October 2, 2014

    This does not mean that your exercise routine itself needs to be 10,000 steps in addition to other daily activities. The 10,000 steps they say to aim for means all of your walking throughout the entire day, too. I often reach around 12,000 steps daily without even “exercising,” per se. Those are just my numbers from normal life tasks of running errands and taking care of my kids. (I know it’s harder for those with desk jobs, but even on my most inactive days I usually reach about 8000 steps, according to my FitBit.) There’s definitely no way I could set aside 2.5 hours of time devoted purely to exercise, and if I did do that, I’d probably be at more like 25,000 steps daily.

  20. hypernova17 permalink
    December 11, 2014

    I reach it almost every day :)

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