The Magic of 10,000 Steps

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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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    • 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!
          Ugh..
          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

      • 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

  • 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?
    Sue

  • 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.

If you have questions about a Fitbit tracker, product availability, or the status of your order, contact our Support Team or search the Fitbit Community for answers.

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