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:

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      • I’m questioning the accuracy of my Fitbit charge 3.
        This morning I walked 4.5 miles on a gps app from my phone. My Fitbit recorded my walk at only 3.67. I know my phone app is correct.
        My age 65 and height and weight are input correctly on my Fitbit.
        What I don’t know how to do is to get the Fitbit to use my phones gps.
        Any suggestions.

        • Hi Steve. Our engineers are aware of this issue and are currently investigating it. For now, we suggest using the “Run” activity for GPS data, even when walking. We appreciate your feedback and hope to get this issue resolved as soon as we can.

          • Hi Fit Bit thank you so much for infecting the Fitbit I think it’s wonderful I use it every day I like it that I can keep track of my steps and keep track of my workout you guys keep doing what you were doing fit bit you are a wonderful project

        • There’s and app on your fit bit that you start before you go on your walk. This app syncs both your phone and fit bit GPS. It took me awhile to figure it out but I googled it and found my how!!

        • I have 2 Fitbit trackers. My daughter bought me the little belt pedometer. I bought the Alta. I have noticed they don’t agree. I like the small one because in the grocery store when you are not swinging your hands it does not register correctly on the Alta. They can be 2,000 steps different. So I wear both.

    • 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!

          • Hi , I live in the UK ,I walk everywhere I don’t drive , I get my steps every day just walking to town and back , my neighbours do twice that walking their children to school everyday , I think we may need to set our goals differently here , we have paths (sidewalks) everywhere don’t snack as much and we drink less sodas , I notice when I visit the US portion sizes are massive compared with ours so there’s less food waste and we do not eat as much processed food , it must be difficult for you to change a life style when that’s the normal way to live , good luck hope you all manage to hit your goals and carry on

        • That’s awesome! Keep it up. It takes approximately 6 weeks to really start noticing a difference in the beginning. You go girl!!

        • I’ve just started using it this week, I set a goal of losing 1stone 10 pounds by New Year’s Eve. I’ve been following exactly what it says and eating slightly less than it says as I don’t want more, I’m drinking 2 litres water, did over 20,000 steps the last two days, did 50 floors yesterday, I’ve put on 4 pounds! Maybe it’s the water? I’m carrying on, I’ve set my target to 15,000 steps, it’s the active bit I’m struggling with, I’ve set 90 mins. I walk faster already too, will be measuring my self once a week too

        • Morning. Are u drinking enough water, watching what u eat? Walking goes hand in hand with your calories- both how u eat and how much when u walk..

        • Keep going Maggie. You will see a change. Vigorous walking and dancing helps you accumulate more steps and you will also see changes. 👍🏾

        • Keep it up Maggie!
          It will show on due time. I began in July and have hit 10,000 miles more often now that I am nursing my dog after her ACL surgery. We walk 20 minutes slowly 3X a day plus, I do my walk of 30 minutes!
          I feel hungrier but not guilty. Don’t stop…Believing. You can do this. 😉

        • U might find it’s getting easier tho hun. My body strengthens and tones muscles before it even touches my fat. If u had aching joints these should be easing, and breathing my be easier.
          I was quite athletic and an injury made it hard to even play with my kids for 2yrs. I’ve now healed and started walking and finding improvements in what I’ve mentioned above.y body seems to be getting fitter but I haven’t shifted any weight. But this will come x good luck x

        • Use your calorie counter. If you make sure your intake of calories is lower than your intake, you will lose weight. It’s working for me, a 69 year old grandma.

          • I’m a 71 year old grandmother and using the new Fitbit water resistant as I do aquarobics 4 mornings a week but I don’t think it is logging my very strenuous steps in the water accurately. In logging approximately 3,550 steps in 45 minutes. Any ideas!!

          • Hi Brenda! Flex 2 is designed to track laps, but steps done in the pool might not register. The step algorithm is based on basic step-based activities like walking and running (does not factor walking resistance when in a pool). For more info on accuracy, check out this help article: How accurate are Fitbit trackers?. Hope this helps!

        • Never give up. As a former big girl don’t let anyone discourage you in your goals. Don’t listen to stupid people who put you down. You are big and beautiful. I was only 20 pounds over weight when I was a teenager and thought I was a cow. Self asteam is important. If I screw up now. I start over tomorrow. I have lost 142 pounds.

        • I had my Fitbit for a month and saw little difference in my weight. Then I went a month and didn’t go near the scales and in that month I lost 10 lbs. I am 64 and get my steps in at least 6 days a week. Now my scale is put away until Christmas Day. Weighing too often is a discouraging trap.

      • 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 !

    • I am 70 and it is helping me stay limber and active! I think I am 35 on the inside…….walking more is helping my outside get closer to my inside identity!

    • 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 think you can add it as 3×15 cycling. There’s a feature in the exercise tracker where you can add exercising time where your Fitbit might not fully respond to movement. I’m a bit surprised there isn’t a pre-set add-on for swimming! No way am I wearing my Fitbit in the pool 😉

        • Hi Renee. Thanks for letting us know. Our engineers have worked diligently on your tracker’s algorithms to make sure that it does not pick up false steps or activity recordings while in a car. Unless you are driving in a car with a stiff transmission or on back country roads, your tracker should not give you credit for any work that you don’t do. If you do pick up some steps while driving, see Can I delete data? for instructions on removing steps. If you are experiencing further issues, please reach out to us via our other support channels so we can help you further.

  • 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’m a 64 year old Nonna and I’m so happy with my Fitbit after 7 weeks I’m now consistently doing 10,000 steps or more a day.. I’ve lost weight and feeling great. Thank you!

  • 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 !

  • Love, love, love my fitbit !!
    My husbands boss bought him one back the first of June. He did so well his first week, when he asked me what I’d like for our 47 th anniversary? I said I want a fitbit.. He thought I’d lost my mind! But the second week of June I had mine on and programmed, raring to go. Then I had a back problem for 3 weeks and could barely even walk, but once I was back on my feet I got going.. I’m happy to say I just got my 10 lb loss badge this past Sunday. I’m still going to physical therapy after 4 weeks of chiropractic care and I’m up to 11,000 or more a day now. Some days it’s hard to get started but once I get going, I feel better and this helps motivate me.
    We also got the scale !! This thing is neat, it calibrates everything to your program on your ph, just one less thing to worry about..
    Lovin my fitbit!!

  • Does it make a lot of difference if the 10000 steps are not done at the same time, as I start my count as soon as I am awake. I average about 4500 in day to day routine (work, etc) then I walk when I get home to reach my target. I have lost 21lbs in weight as I joined a slimming club in March.

  • Can someone tell me why my Fitbit is not coordinating with my iPad. It registered on some days, but not yesterday. I exceeded my 10,000 steps so I’d love to see it! Please advise.

  • I have started doing around 20000 per day. I am 40 and since I started whilst it was hard to begin with the benifit a far outweighs the early pains

    • It takes me more than 30 minutes to get 10,000 steps – usually most of the day. I walk 3 miles daily and that takes me about an hour plus my daily activities. Just keep moving 😊

  • Thanks for information on having to move your arms to get more accurate count. I use the NuStep at the gym and I wondered why it didn’t count the steps that I walked. I don’t use my hands because it pulls my shoulders.

  • I wish Fitbit worked while holding on or was large enough for your ankle sometimes I’m always pushing a stroller even when I run. And the grocery store all those wasted steps. I consistently hit 12,000 steps I’m trying to push for 15 a day because I’m still not healthy as I want to be.

  • It really is the simplest way to begin exercising and stay motivated. Reaching 10k a day for me requires a little push to get there.
    Three years ago I was barely moving let alone walking. Job stress zombieland. My kids gave me a Fitbit for Mothers Day.
    I bonded with it instantly and it’s my number 1 supporter, motivator, lifeline. My friends, family and Fitbit community are my constant fuel. I will never run out of steam.

  • I do not find it easy to get I my steps due to meetings and running kids around. Any suggestions. I stand up a lot but I don’t move.

  • I’m 72 and I try to walk vigorously 4 days in early morning which gets me up to 7-8K then it’s easy to knock out the remaining steps to hit my 10.5K goal. It helps me to have that goal each day in front of me.

  • I am 52 ,and had arthritis pain in my big toe. After looking in to food and, calories I began to do 10,000 steps a day ,but I’m sure I couldn’t do it without my fit bit and there web page it gives you motivation . I also have no more pain in my toe now,

  • Hi
    I’m new to Fifbit (day 2) and am finding that my device is clocking up steps when I am sitting at my desk or in my chair. Is it reading my general arm movements when I am working or for example changing greater in the car?

  • I do 12 k 👣 A day. If you want to lose weight, the calorie counter is amazing. It’s shocking how many calories are in some foods. It’s really made me aware and I actually love the challenge of finding low cal alternatives.

  • I’m 59 and a UK resident. I took early retirement 1st August 2016 weighing in at a massive 22stone 5 lbs. I got myself a little dog a month ago followed by a Fitbit and weighed in yesterday at 20stones 13 lbs…. A loss of 20 lbs in just over a month! Long way to go, I know by 10000 steps a day is easy walking a dog. Not sure how accurate the steps are, but who cares. I now have a target each day and incentive. Cut down the portion sizes and get walking! Good luck all!
    Ps. I’m a type 2 diabetic and my blood sugars have dropped to much more reasonable levels…. I’m having to lower my insulin intake to adjust. Hopefully insulin will not be required soon, just tablets. Here’s hoping!

  • I’m so happy to see so many of us getting involved and just staying healthy. I’m a personal trainer have taken on a New Journey in life and still doing anywhere from 10 to 20 k per day and loving it. Keep up the good work my Fitbit comrades.

  • I was in the UK for 8months and dropped 50 pounds. The only exercise I did was walking. However, I did change my diet. It helped that I was living about 10 miles from the nearest fast food place. I ate healthier, slept more and the weight fell off. I am a Type 2 diabetic who may be off my oral meds in a few more months. Now, to repeat the process whilst back in the US is the tricky part! Haven’t gained any weight, but haven’t lost any more either. It’s a balancing act here.

  • I’m 80 and a half. I’m a full time counselor in a middle school. My goal is 8,000 steps but last week was my best. My mileage walking was 20 miles! I was soooo excited. My Fitbit has changed my life. I challenge myself.

  • I had foot surgery in April- complete with metal hardware, etc, and I was in a cast for months and then a walking boot. I got rid of the walking boot about a month ago and got the Fitbit to motivate me as I recover. This is really the greatest thing. I am LOVING the Yosemite challenge as I went for the first time last autumn and my foot was too weak to do any trails. I can’t wait to return this year and be able to explore the park again. This has been great motivation. I work at a desk for nearly 10 hrs a day and I have never gotten up as much as I have in the past few weeks (and I have worked here for 9 yrs!)

    I love it!

  • The FitBit is the best thing to come into my life! I meet a friend at 5:30 am to walk – nice way to start the morning – and than hit the gym for an hour. My goal is to get to 5 miles before 7:00 am. After that it is all bonus steps!

  • I started using Fitbit on 5/2916 and can’t believe how motivated it has kept me. I’m 62 and I can’t play basketball with my son the way I used to or wrestling. He’s 16 so walking is the next best thing for me. I have walked 500 miles since then.

  • I have been trying to use my Fitbit to reduce my body fat. I love how it keeps me going. I can see I am getting more exercise.

  • Anyone have any tips for making all your steps count on the treadmill? I just did 6.5 miles and it only registered 8.1k steps. The other day it was even more off. It’s great on my neighborhood walks but when I use the treadmill (on rainy days), the count is way off and I lose my challenge. I hate losing.

    • Hi Patty! If you’re on a treadmill, your wrist-based tracker will count your steps but the total may be slightly lower than usual. 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. If you need more help, please reach out to our support team via our other support channels.

  • Just wondering…if you do pool walking and can’t wear the Fitbit in the water is there a way to add the activity to be tracked.

  • Thanks to Fitbit I m now aware of how many steps i do in a day. I do about 5000 steps before I start my day as an excercise. During the day I used to do max 4000 and used to land up missing my target of 10k. I realised I need to do something which is just a part of my routine. My office is on the 5 th floor. Now after lunch I go down during lunch time and take a couple of rounds of the building and this helps me with little over 2 k steps. And I meet my target coz of this little change 😊

  • When I first got my fit bit and saw my totals of 700-800 steps a day I thought that the 10,000 goal was a cruel joke. But I started walking and working out and it wasn’t long before I hit it for the first time. Now I’m on a streak of 10,000+ every day since August 6th!

  • I bought my fitbit to monitor my sleep patterns. I did not know at the time that it would encourage me to walk more . In two months since I’ve bought the fit bit I have reduced my waist size by one size. Without changing my diet at all. My weight is still the same , But my belly is smaller. Before the fit bit I was walking approximately 3 to 4000 steps a day. For the past month, I have walked an average of over 11,000 steps a day. It has been a great encouragement to me.

  • This really has motivated me to walk more, especially when I see that I am close to the 10k mark and it is close to going to bed. I will walk more even if it is just around the house just to hit that goal.

  • I”m 68 and ride a horse for between 60 & 90 minutes a day, pity fitbit can’t cater for this ” extreme” sport. Wonder how many steps it would account for!?

    • Hi Jacqueline. Our apologies for the delayed response. Our Fitbit trackers do not have an algorithm that can translate horseback riding into steps. Our trackers are designed to track steps for step-based activities such as running/walking. However, if you’d like to share your feature idea, feel free to do so on our ideas board.

  • I have found my Fitbit Tracker to be a Godsend. It keeps me on my toes. It also makes me realized that I have been staking a lot of steps without knowing it. Tracking my food and water intake is now so easy. Love it.

    • Thanks for your question, Judy. If your hands are stationary while pushing a cart, 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. If your tracker is not tracking any step, try restarting your tracker. To learn more about Fitbit tracker accuracy, take a look at this help article. If you need more help, please feel free to reach out to our support team via our other support channels.

    • Thanks for sharing this with us, Sabeen! Please note that your tracker begins tracking your steps for the new day starting at 12am. So if you’re wearing your Fitbit tracker to sleep and wake up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water or go the bathroom, it will count those steps. Otherwise, if you were not wearing your tracker and received steps, try restarting your tracker. If you continue to see hundreds of steps added overnight without reason, please reach out to our support team via our other support channels so we can take a closer look.

  • I’m so excited to start my new fit bit program my best friends daughter has one and she told me how wonderful it is so I choose to take good care of myself

  • I feel it’s a great motivator. After started using fit bit I am naturally conscious to complete my goal . Since I am conscious enough it gave me very good result in weight and health both .I am happy and satisfied both.

  • Love my Fitbit….I regularly do 10,000 Monday through Thursday’s…Friday’s I’m up to 15 to 17,000…weekends I do 22,000 to 25,000 per day… I achieved my goal hiking during vacation for 2 weeks at 32 to 40,000 steps per day… When I returned home I was in great shape for 62 year old… My question is when I chose to bike all day nothing recorded… Also I watch my calories burned… When I was climbing cliffs and mountains I would assume i would but more calories but I noticed no are calorie burns being teacked

  • My fitbit charge 2 will not sync and I have checked everything the say to.. It continues to say fitbit and I phone not paired!
    Will I lose all the steps done since it stopped sinking @5:38pm today?

  • This goes way back 10,000 steps a day for better health! I truly believe it.. I remember wearing a pedometer clip on and that’s the old fashion way now technology creation with the Fitbit I just love it!! I have the Fitbit HR and I can track steps and heart rate instantly! Thanks to my hubby!! Also I’m wondering why the last 2 days my Fitbit did not sync my steps? I’m trying to make a goal and I looked at my log history it shows zero Thursday and Friday? And I have bluetooth on my iPhone? Can someone explain??

  • Really tired of seeing the pinnacle of what I should be doing. With an arthritic knee I would welcome a little support for my 5000. It’s like climbing a mountain and your 10000 message just really smacks- we are NOT ALL YUPPIES…

  • I wonder, why my fitbit blaze shows 100-200 steps when I just wake up in the bed. its little confusing and question on reliability of the tracker.

  • Ever since I got my Fitbit it doesn’t come off it gives me encouragement to do more I am constantly trying to beat my last goal. It’s awesome I love it. 👍🏼

  • My friend and I both have Fitbits we do similar exercise and work but her Fitbit counts up sometimes double the steps mine does. Can you tell me how to find the setup page to compare stats.


  • My Fitbit is a bit out of sorts before I even get out of bed I have climbed 31 floors! So I doubt the accuracy of the steps and calories I have had it replaced once already. Great software shame about the hardware but I will persevere

  • Is 10,000 steps a day a realistic goal for someone in their 60’s? I can achieve 6,000 steps but takes me an hour and not 30 mins suggested in this blog.

  • I’ve gotten better at it.. some days not quite there.. but I start over everyday… I will say it has made me feel better

  • Frustrated…! As a fitness instructor & gym manager I’m dissapointed. My day consisted of working out, teaching Zumba & constantly on my feet moving. At the end of the day it documented ZERO steps!

  • In the job I have my wrist and hands move a lot while standing in one place but the Fitbit counts it as walking how can I stop that from happening. I do not get an accurate count of steps in a day.

    • Hi Joe. Although Alta cannot calculate floors or elevation, it will calculate active minutes. Your Fitbit tracker recognizes and awards active minutes when the activity you’re doing is more strenuous than regular walking, which includes everything from a brisk walk to a cardio workout or run. Let us know if you have any questions!

  • 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.
    334 steps a minute wow

  • My Urologist had me get a Fitbit and upped my goal to 12,000 steps per day. I’ve been doing it. I hAve a Fitbit Zip. n someone please tell me how to set that new goal

  • Pls can someone help to clarify the Fitbit step counting. I feel my new Fitbit is over counting. Just from my bed to the bathroom is 45 steps is that normal ?
    I just bought the latest Fitbit 3 days ago. Is there a fault ?

  • I’m in a wheelchair so I can’t get 10,000 steps. I think I have done good by losing almost a hundred pounds without the exercises.

  • I have a Blaze. It is great! Very motivating and I think it is accurate except on the elliptical trainer. It disagrees with the stride count that the machine records. But oh well! I wish I could figure out how to sync/pair with Weight Watchers.

    • Thanks Laurie! We’re happy to know that you’re enjoying your Blaze. For help with syncing to Weight Watchers check out this Fitbit help article.

      Fitbit trackers are designed to track step based activities, manually logging an activity works well when step count isn’t the best indicator of the calories burned. If you are doing an activity that does not require steps (like cycling or using an elliptical machine), or an activity that requires more than just steps (like tennis or yoga), logging the activity manually improves the accuracy of this activity’s contribution to your caloric burn. If you need more help, please reach out to us via our other support channels and we will take a closer look.

  • I believe the goal of 10,000 a day to be great for people with no job and no children. However, when I go to the gym and do a solid hour on the elliptical, increasing the level from 12-20 and I’m only getting around 5,000 steps; I’d say I’ve more than taken care of the old ticket that day. I usually end up with 8,000 if I don’t consciously try to take steps for the sake of taking steps.
    I’ve set my personal goal at 11,000 and only average making it three times a week.

  • I am 75 and have lost 25 lbs just from walking and watching what I eat. I still teach and take care of a big house and large property. I usually walk over 12,000 steps a day. I love it.

  • A minimum of 10k steps a day has helped me to lose 25 pounds and go down two waist sizes. Never felt better and the competitions in the Fitbit ecosystem are a great way to stay motivated. Keep up the great work everyone.

  • I am 70 and have been handicapped for six years from side effects of a statin drug. I got worse and worse until I was bedridden. I’m not taking them now and feel much better so I got a Fitbit and am so excited by my progress. What a high when I reach my goal. Thankyou so much for this great product. My doctor is so pleased she even gave me a hug last week. (No awful pain killers now either)🙃

  • I received by Fitbit about a week ago. I have been doing challenges with my friends and co-works. I love it. It is a great way to reach my 10,000 steps without struggling.

  • Hi Fitbit
    I just received my new Fitbit charge 2 rose gold and absolutely love it 🙂 but just wondering how accurate the steps are? As I opening it up, turned it on and sync with my phone it clocked up 16 steps in 30 seconds and I hadn’t even stood up or moved the Fitbit in any directions, it was still on the table? Is this normal? It seems to be clocking up steps while I’m not even moving? Any help appreciated

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