How Does My Fitbit Count Steps Even If My Arms Aren’t Moving?

Walking is always beneficial to the health of people. Even the doctor suggests walking 10,000 steps daily for a healthy life and long-term health benefits. So to track your steps and monitor your health, the Fitbit Fitness tracker is a good option. Equipped with features such as heart rate monitoring, accelerometer, water resistance, activity tracking, and many more, Fitbit gives the best health and fitness tracking experience.

Generally, the wrist band records the steps count based on the arm movement. But how actually the Fitbit tracks the steps? And will the Fitbit fitness tracker count steps even if the arms are not moving? Or Does Fitbit counts the steps even when you are driving? Well, this article helps you to find out the answer to these questions and many more.

How Does Fitbit Fitness Tracker Tracks Steps?

You might wonder how your steps and distance covered are tracked by the Fitbit fitness tracker. For every step you walk, the device automatically records in its system. For this, Fitbit fitness tracker user 3-axis accelerometer. This tracks the movement of your arm in any direction. It also allows the tracker to track the frequency, direction, intensity, and patterns of the movement.

Earlier, there used to be many errors, and hence, the device was not considered accurate. But, over recent years, there has been a lot of technological advancement. Fitbit fitness tracker uses an algorithm that helps the device to identify the false steps and remove them. However, this does not mean that the algorithms give 100% accurate results.

Does Fitbit Count Steps If My Arms Are Not Moving?

Having a step-tracking feature is common on a fitness tracker. There are lots of sensors such as a Heart Rate tracker, GPS, accelerometer, etc. Among these, the accelerometer is responsible for movements and step counts. Generally, it tracks your movements in any direction.
But what if your arms are not moving? Does the Fitbit count steps?

Well, yes. It does count the steps even if your arms are not moving. But the count will not be an accurate one. The device uses an accelerometer to detect the steps. And, for this, it uses strides to detect whether we are running or walking. The Fitbit device uses finely tuned algorithms to count the steps.
Sometimes when you are at work or in a kitchen, you might not move a long distance, but even then, the steps shall be counting. This is due to the motion of your arms. When your arms move, the Fitbit sensors collect the movement and convert it as a step count. This results in extra steps for you. But, these steps are negligible when compared with the entire day.

All in all, it will track some of the movements and the steps even if your arms aren’t moving. But the count will not be accurate.

How Does Fitbit Fitness Tracker Tracks The Distance Covered?

Likewise, there’s a bit different way to measure the distance covered; the Fitbit fitness tracker is capable of tracking your distance covered as well. For this, your Fitbit device uses a simple formula. It uses the stride length, which is determined by your height and sex. The stride length is the distance that you cover when you take both steps, one with each foot. Generally, on average, the length of each step is 2.5 feet. This makes the length of the stride 5 feet(2.5 x 2) on average.

Steps x Stride Length = Distance Travelled.

For example, you walk 5,000 steps in a day, and your length of the Stride length is 5 feet. Now the distance you traveled will be 25000 feet(4.73 miles approx).

Steps walked in a day: 5000 steps
Step length: 2.5 feet
Stride length: 2.5 x 2 = 5 feet
Distabce Travelled: 5000 (Steps) x 5 (Stride Length) = 25000 feet i.e. 4.73 miles approximately.

But if you track your activity using the GPS, the device calculates the distance using GPS rather than the steps.

Do The Steps Count Differ On Where I Wear It?

The position of your fitness tracker is essential to measure the accurate steps. Likewise, if you wear a fitness tracker with loose-fitting accessories such as a bangle or pendant, then it shows a different step count. Thus in such a case, I recommend using a classic band. It ensures accuracy during workouts and sleeps. However, while wearing the classic bands, do make sure that the band fits securely and is not too tight.

Similarly, the wrist also determines and affects the steps count. The expert suggests that for wrist bands, it’s necessary where you wear your device. Is it a dominant wrist or a non-dominant wrist? You will have to specify this at the time of setup.

The dominant hand is one that is used for eating, writing, and other general-purpose. The dominant wrist setting decreases the sensitivity of the step count. It reduces any over counting of the steps when the body is not moving. On the other hand, the non-dominant hand wrist setting increases the sensitivity of step counting. And contrary to the dominant wrist, it reduces any undercounting of steps.

Why Does My Fitbit Device Count Extra Steps?

As mentioned earlier, the Fitbit fitnes tracker uses algorithms for steps count. Now sometimes, when you are doing office work or cooking, your hand might move, which causes you to add some steps. When you are doing such activities as cooking and working, you tend to move your arm; thus, your device gives credit to those arm movements, considering some movements.

Will My Device Counts The Steps When I am Riding a Vehicle?

Now, what if I am in a moving vehicle? Will the Fitbit tracker count the steps? When you are in a moving vehicle, your hand shall remain still. In such a case, the device will not count the steps. But, if the road is bumpy or if it’s off-road, then Fitbit shall detect the movement and add the steps count.
Normally, if you are in a vehicle and there is no arms movement, your Fitbit device shall not detect the movement. So, traveling under normal conditions will not make any difference.

Does Fitbit Tracks Steps If I am Pushing a Stroller?

The Fitbit device tracks the steps every time when there is some movement felt in the accelerometer. Thus, even while pushing the stroller, it’s similar to traveling a bumping road. Your hands are in motion continuously even though if you are still. Thus, yes, the Fitbit tracker counts the steps if you are pushing a stroller. But the count might not be an accurate count.

Now, to eradicate such a false step count, there are two basic measures you can apply.
First, change the reference point of the accelerometer by keeping the tracker in the pocket. This helps to track the steps count more accurately while pushing the stroller.
Similarly, you can also place your Fitbit fitness tracker in the Ankle or the pocket near the knee. This method is comparatively more accurate than that of the first one. However, since this wrist band is designed to wear on the wrist, placing it on other parts might not give an accurate result.

Can I Wear My Fitbit Fitness Tracker On Ankle?

Well, there are fitness trackers that we wear on the ankle. But the Fitbit fitness tracker can not be worn except Fitbit Zip. This Fitbit Zip has an advanced clip-on pedometer. The major reason for wearing on the ankle is for accuracy. Wearing on the ankle helps to determine more exact steps count than that of wearing on the wrist.
So the clear answer is that you can not wear a Fitbit fitness tracker on the ankle.

How Can I Improve Fitbit Fitness Trackers’ Accuracy?

Accuracy is the most prominent factor to be considered while selecting a fitness tracker. What is it of use when your fitness tracker does not measure your health issue correctly? Now, in order to improve the accuracy and reliability of the device, there are several options that you can apply.

  • Your health-related information is a must. For this, provide an accurate personal detail such as your name, height, weight, gender, stride length, etc.
  • Proper data helps in the calculation of various parameters such as calorie burned; distance walked, etc.
  • Furthermore, if you have got the option of attaching the tracker near to your hip, do choose that, Since it is more accurate.
  • Another good tip for enhancing the accuracy is to avoid using a Fitbit Fitness tracker while performing activities such as playing music, pushing a stroll, etc.
  • Do not forget to fasten your wristband properly for accurate updates
  • Make sure that whenever you switch the wrist, do update the wrist setting as well.
  • Do update your device at regular intervals. It improves your algorithms

Final Words

Fitbit fitness tracker is an excellent device to track health activities. And for the steps counts, you can rely upon this tracker. It uses algorithms to detect the steps; being a wrist band, this fitness tracker from Fitbit is mostly worn on the wrist. Now, as discussed above, the Fitbit fitness tracker does track even if the arms are not moving. But the accuracy might not be perfect in this measurement.

When you move your arm, it causes some vibration that the device gets and as per the intensity of movement. However, these advanced algorithms help to identify the false steps and remove them. So to answer the question, Does Fitbit count steps if arms are not moving? It would be yes; it does track some movement and the steps even if the arms are not moving. But these might not be accurate.