My Year with Fitbit

Ever wonder how many steps you really walk? Do you come close to the so-called recommended 10,000 per day? Does more walking make a difference?

I just finished one year with a Fitbit, a present my wife gave me as we headed to Europe. Now stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, I walk around the yard instead of Scotland Yard.

But the numbers were surprising. I walked 2,601,871 steps in one year. That’s roughly 1,296 miles – from Washington to almost Denver or a roundtrip to Louisville.

Strangely, I don’t know if that’s a good number or bad. The average day was then 7,108 steps. I lost probably 200,000 steps with no spring tour season when I walk like crazy for 100 days. That would have raised my average to 7,600 daily.

Ironically, the best days came right away in Europe. The best day was 17,400 when touring Stockholm, Sweden with a native friend. We still needed to walk about one mile back to the ship from the train station. My wife was exhausted and strongly suggested a cab, whose driver knew he could screw me for $50 for a five-minute ride, but there wasn’t much choice. I was hoping to hit 20,000 walking to ship.

The best week was the first of two in Europe at 80,327. The second week was 71,759. The closest I came otherwise was mid-September at 75,107 steps while touring a couple days.

There were a few 30,000-range weeks, mostly in the winter and during the lockdown. But, mostly, I was in the 40,000+ range many weeks.

Now there’s this marketing myth that we should walk 10,000 steps daily, but that’s not some medically-based recommendation. It was the maker of pedometers who came up with that arbitrary number. Myself, I try to reach 8,000 and often do so.

Does the Fitbit inspire you to add to steps, especially when on the verge of crossing another thousand number near bedtime? I must admit walking the halls to do so more than once so I guess that worked. I find myself trying to hit the hours of 250 per steps more often. I have it timed for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for 250 steps per. Occasionally, I do it all nine and sometimes on a heavy writing day might only do three. But the Fitbit buzzes with 10 minutes remaining and I’ve more than once jumped up to hit 250.

I even spent a few weeks with several family members competing in weekday competitions. I won some, lost some. Everyone tired of it after a while.

I don’t sleep with my Fitbit on very often so I don’t see the sleep pattern analysis much. I had given up wearing a watch before receiving my Fitbit so wearing it 24/7 seems excessive if not suffocating. Limiting it to waking hours, I don’t mind wearing it and only missed doing so three days in the year.

Where do I go from here? My Year 2 goal would be 2,920,000 steps so I can average 8,000 steps daily. That’s about a 10 percent increase, which seems doable.

Ultimately, wearing a Fitbit is worthwhile and I even know the time more often plus my pulse rate, which comes in handy when walking hills. Invest $100 in yourself and buy one.

And maybe we’ll walk past each other – six feet apart.

About Rick

Rick Snider is a native Washingtonian, long-time journalist and licensed tour guide since 2010.
This entry was posted in Washington life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.