FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Suunto, Polar. They can all track your steps and many other things when you wear them every minute of the day.

While the most common step goal and the default setting for most of these wearables is 10,000 steps, is it a worthwhile goal and will it set you up for a good start on your weight loss journey?

If you are new to wearing a fitness tracker, one of the first things that you might notice is that you probably don’t move as often as you think. 10,000 steps seem like a lot. It is eight kilometers over 24 hours and if you work in an office all work day, it can be hard to achieve.

However, if you do reach 10k worth of steps in a day, that’s 500 calories burned and 3,500 over the week!

So how do you do it? Most trackers have different settings such as an hourly alert at ten minutes to the hour if you haven’t recorded 250 steps yet. That will prompt you (if possible) to get up and do a lap of the office to get that 250. Doing that also encourages blood flow throughout your body and gives your eyes a rest from the computer.

It also can become a friendly competition. Even if you haven’t set up challenges against your friends, you can battle yourself from day to day and week to week. Making it a competition can help you form healthy habits. If you are consistently short of meeting your 10,000-step goal, you might find yourself parking your car further away from the entrance to your office just to get a few hundred more steps.

Your active minutes are also tracked, so your wearable will let you know how often you got your heart rate up to an active level over the course of the day. You may have logged 10,000 steps, but if you didn’t get any active minutes, that might prompt you into some light cardio or a long walk after dinner.

Trust me, if you are getting ready for bed and you’re at 9,500 steps, you’ll be tempted to lap your entire house to get those 500 steps to keep your perfect 10k week going, especially if you’re trying to stay ahead of your significant other in the step standings.

These types of healthy habits that fitness trackers tend to foster in its users are a good way to get started on a weight loss journey. You’ll be more aware of how much you move or don’t move in a day, how much time you spend at your desk and just how many steps a walk with your dog typically racks up.  

These are all good things to know and often lead to other healthy decisions like cooking healthier meals and prepping your lunches at home before the work week starts. On its own, 10,000 daily steps won’t get you to your goal, but it will certainly get you started on the right path!