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 for which to aim. 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 study of the 10,000 steps a day method conducted in 2010 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 reach with just a little change to your daily routine. Working towards a 10,000 step a day goal? Good for you! Join the conversation below to help other get motivated, too!

Read more about 10,000 steps:

18 Comments   Join the Conversation

18 CommentsLeave a comment

    • That’s what I was wondering. I’m 75 and still teaching. Lift weights twice a week. Also have three grandchildren that I help take to their sports practices. I sometimes hit 10,000 steps, but don’t want to set it as my goal and fall short on many days. I’m quite content to hit my 3 miles a day….if I get more that’s great.

      • Good grief Nsncy you put me to shame! I’m only 48 and just realising what a sedentary lifestyle I lead (despite working full time and a single mum to teenage girls 😱) My partner bought me this Fitbit for our 6 year anniversary (am assuming he is trying to tell me something) but I have to say it’s working, the target is giving me something to work towards and am meeting it on most days 😜 Am a convert already

        • Maggie…good for you! I’ve only met 10,000 once in 2 weeks & it was tough! I’m sure you are more healthy for it even if you haven’t lost weight. Try decreasing the portion size you eat & drinking the recommend amount of water & cut out any pop you may drink. Keep up the good work!

      • I am 72, walking 6 to 8 miles a day plus work out 3 times a week in the gym.
        One my favor is a Plank lasting 3 to 5 miles !

    • Thanks for your question, Chris! It is possible to get 10,000 steps on a treadmill. However, if your hands are stationary while on a treadmill, your step count might be lower, because your hands are not moving in a motion as they normally would when walking/running. Our Fitbit trackers use a 3-axis accelerometer to understand your motions. The algorithm is designed to look for motion patterns most indicative of people walking/running. Let us know if you have any questions!

  • I always fail at diets so I thought I would baby step it first so the only change I made was get my water in (no more pop) 10,000 steps a day after a couple weeks strong I am now ready to change what I eat! This is a total life style change

  • I hit my 10,000 by two sessions on my treadmill. But, you have to have your Fitbit hand swinging, not holding on, but you get used to it. That and following weight watchers points program. Since 8/11/16 I’ve lost 14 1/2 pounds and feel so much better. I’m 65 and a grandmother of 4.

  • I think fit bit one should come in a different color if it happens to fall off jeans in restaurant difficult to find on dArk floors

  • From a sedentary life style, the Fitbit is amazing, bringing in the healthy competition with friends and family, I already average 12000 steps a day. This is in about 3.5 weeks. 7lb lost. Recording the food eaten against calories burnt really does focus your calorie intake !

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