Thanks to Fitbit, Small Steps Can Turn into Major Strides

Let’s face it, you’re busy—but even for around-the-clock executives, getting in tip-top shape only takes one step at a time with Fitbit products

At the dawn of mankind, walking was the only means of transportation. Days, months, and even years were needed to get to one’s destination. Of course as time progressed, so too did transit. Automobiles replaced the horse and buggy while prototypes in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, led to flight.

Taking 10,000 Steps with a Profile Editor 

Writing a story about Fitbit is one thing, but actually trying to practice what a company preaches is another. Like many of our readers, I am someone with a desk job who falls into the sedentary category for daily users of Fitbit.

Here were my steps taken to get to 10,000 steps each day for one week:

Typical day: One advantage I have over others with a sedentary job is that I do walk to and from work, which is a round trip of about two miles. I also try and exercise five days a week, but even with that regimen I still came up short of the 10,000 goal with 6,796 steps.

Change with Fitbit: To get to 10,000 steps, I started running about two miles before work. As someone who likes to sleep in, this took quite an adjustment and is honestly something I would need far more than one week to get used to. However, by doing so, I was able to get to 10,000 steps each day. Normally I was able to get more by walking during lunch and using the upstairs bathroom in the office as opposed to downstairs where I sit.

The results: By the third day, I noticed how much better I felt each day. Not only did I come to work with more energy, but I was also sleeping well every night (again making it harder to obey the alarm clock than usual). I could feel my confidence increasing each day. Now getting to 10,000 steps no longer felt like a chore, but more like a fun goal to achieve.

—Danny Ciamprone, Profile editor

As transportation progressed, the destinations—like the workplace—evolved as well. Computer keyboards replaced hardware tools, and team huddles on the factory floor were now taking place in chairs around the boardroom. None of this progress is necessarily bad, but rather a glimpse into what the human race is capable of in a relatively short amount of time. But with these added conveniences comes the burden of confinement, lack of mobility, and ultimately, poor health habits. That is, until a San Francisco startup emerged in 2007 looking to end the stigma that it takes hours at the gym to get in shape.

Today, Fitbit is a household name thanks to founders James Park and Eric Friedman. The two entrepreneurs had a vision to change the way humans move by merging sensors with today’s wireless technology to track such variables as heart rate, steps taken in a day, calories, and more. The fundamental idea though is that those looking to get in shape are more likely to achieve results when encouragement is right around their wrist.

According to The Walking Site and Fitbit, the average person is recommended to walk 10,000 steps a day, which is roughly five miles. A sedentary person, on the other hand, averages 1,000-3,000 steps a day. For executives who are burning the midnight oil, that number could add up to even less by the day’s end. Yet encouragement and motivation are never far away. The Fitbit blog has an abundance of success stories, including from thirty-nine -year-old attorney Stephen M.

As a law student, Stephen worked out six days a week, but post-graduation, he found himself working long hours and his fitness schedule became nonexistent. “I sat all day long. I joke around that I fly a desk for a living, and my weight just started going up and up,” he says on Fitbit’s blog. Over the next seven years, Stephen would gain about sixty pounds.

He decided it was time to get in shape, and for Christmas, he received a Fitbit with a goal of losing sixty pounds. After logging his food, he began sneaking in steps any way he could. After reaching his weight-loss goal, Stephen says one of his main pieces of advice is to “work exercise into work” by having walking meetings, as well as improving one’s nutrition by eating fresh produce for snacks and eating fruits and vegetables with every meal.

Another success story on Fitbit’s blog includes Tyler W., a busy mother and director of a nonprofit in North Carolina. On top of her executive duties, she decided to add graduate school to her routine thus reducing her fitness regimen. “I knew with my schedule I wouldn’t have time to work out in a gym every day,” Tyler says. “But I’ve been active all my life, so keeping fitness in my day was important.”

Tyler got a Fitbit Flex and set a daily goal of 10,000 steps by walking during lunch breaks and at night. On top of keeping track of her nutrition, she reached her target weight, not only improving her health but gaining confidence. Tyler’s advice is mainly to make yourself start a routine even if it’s just adding more steps each day. “When you reach your goal, you’ll feel better than you can even anticipate now,” she says.

These are just a couple of countless success stories, and something that Fitbit has prided itself on since its inception. Style, fashion, and innovative products are the goal of any retail brand, but it’s changing lives that has fueled the Fitbit mission—which more people are now taking to heart. This past spring, Forbes reported that the Fitbit Blaze and Alta shipped more than a million smartwatches in the first month it was available. “At Fitbit, we continue to focus on developing innovative and motivating fitness-first products that our customers love and that help them achieve their health and fitness goals,” Woody Scal, chief business officer of Fitbit, says in a news release.

At one point, the possibility for transportation seemed endless (remember Segways were once envisioned to replace walking), and the same rings true for Fitbit’s mission. One area might be in the medical field. “I think right now everyone is focused on pure consumer benefits and motivating people to change their behavior,” Park says in an interview with TIME. “I think there’ll be a next big leap in benefits once we tie into more detailed clinical research and cross the hurdles and dialogue with the FDA about what we can do for consumers and what’s regulated or not.”

Park continues with TIME that consumer-oriented wearable technology produced by companies such as Fitbit could further help customers in the coming few years by making sense of data and making “lightweight” medical diagnoses. In the meantime, however, Fitbit will continue to focus on taking it one step at a time, just like the people they look to help on a daily basis.