Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000 steps goal, and here’s why:
It adds up to about five miles each day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that in general, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve their health–aerobic activity and muscle strengthening, to a minimum of 150 minutes per week.
But, 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to take fewer steps if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury. You will need more if you want to lose a certain amount of weight.
If you’re new to exercise or returning from injury, you’ll want to start slowly to avoid burnout or further injury. Wear a step tracker and determine how many steps you take on average each day over the course of 10 days to 2 weeks. That’s your baseline.
For general fitness improvement, add 1000 daily steps each week, so if your baseline is 4000 steps per day, set your goal at 5000 steps each day. Then each week, increase your amount by 1,000 until you reach the target of 10,000 steps per day. You will find by then that the benefits of a 30-minute daily stroll to reach your 10,000 steps are nearly boundless, from slowing mental decline and lowering blood pressure, to improving sleep and relieving depression.
For weight loss, 10,000 steps each day typically burns about 400 calories, so up to 3000 calories each week on average. Depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose more weight per week simply by completing extra 10,000 steps each day.