Table of Contents
Why Should I Track Active Minutes?
Step tracking is a good start, but there is a difference between “passive steps” and “active steps.”
When you’re taking “passive steps”, you’re taking some steps, but only for a minute or two at a time. An example would be when you walk to another room in your house. When you’re taking “active steps”, you’re continuously taking steps for more than a few minutes at a time. An example would be when you walk your dog.
Passive steps are better than sitting on the couch, but active steps have more health benefits.
How Do I Earn Active Minutes?
You’ll need to be active for at least 10 consecutive minutes to start to earning active minutes. Anything less than 10 minutes in a row won’t count toward your total for the day.
You can perform multiple activities of at least 10 minutes throughout the day to increase your total. So, if you do yoga for 10 minutes after breakfast, walk 10 minutes after lunch, and play 10 minutes of basketball after dinner, you would have 30 active minutes for the day.
Why 10 Minutes?
10 minutes is the minimum because the Physical Activity Guidelines state the following:
“Episodes of aerobic activity count toward meeting the Guidelines if they last at least 10 minutes and are performed at moderate or vigorous intensity”
“Episodes of this duration are known to improve cardiovascular fitness and some risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes”
Be sure to consult your doctor if 10 minutes of activity is too much for your current fitness level.
Do Only Steps Count?
Steps are not the only way to earn active minutes. Non-step-based activities, such as cycling, swimming, basketball, and yoga, also count, even if you log them manually.
A Note About Accuracy
According to Fitbit:
“Trackers with heart-rate sensing do a better job of recognizing active minutes for non-step-based activities, such as weight lifting, strenuous yoga, and rowing. If your tracker doesn’t have heart-rate sensing, your active minutes will be lower for non-step based activities.”
Thus, a Versa, Ionic, Charge 2, or Alta HR will give you the most accurate active minute count for non-step-based activities.
Active minutes may be better than steps for your main activity goal. Try to include 30 minutes of activity into your daily lifestyle to improve your health.
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (full PDF)
- Summary of the Physical Activity Guidelines from the CDC
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I earn active minutes if I manually log an exercise or activity?
A: For most manually logged exercises or activities, yes, as long as they are 10 minutes or longer in duration.
What other questions do you have about Fitbit Active Minutes?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to provide an answer.