Is Your Fitbit Not Tracking Your Steps? Here is Why and How To Fix It!

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As a race walker, I have run into a few problems with my Fitbit. You may know that race walking involves a rather specialized walking technique. When I first started to use my Fitbit when practicing my race walking, I realized my Fitbit not tracking my steps accurately could present me with a problem in training.

 Like so many other race walkers, I am somewhat obsessed with the number of steps I take. So, anyway, Fitbit not tracking steps is not only a problem for race walkers. It is a problem for others as well. So, let’s take a look at what is going on.

The Secret Fitbit Formula

Fitbit may have an issue with tracking your steps accurately because it has to make calculations for tracking. I found out that my Fitbit tracked my walking in three different ways. This is how your Fitbit tracks your steps:

  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Formula
  • Algorithm

These three parameters work great when we walk in a “normal” way. However, when we challenge our Fitbit and walk differently, i.e., race walk or do Walk At Home workouts, the Fitbit does not know what to think.

On this page, we will look at how we can deal with the problem.

Check Out These 9 Easy Fixes That Can Help

You may have to work your way through these easy fixes one by one. So take your time and don’t rush it.

1. The first thing to do is make sure you are wearing your Fitbit correctly. It should fit snug and not hang loose. One mistake many walkers make is wearing their Fitbit slightly too loose. Of course, they wear their watch in that way and presume it is the proper way to wear a Fitbit.

We are creatures of habit. If you usually wear your timepiece hanging slightly loose, your Fitbit will not give you the correct information.

2. Check your settings. Like with any other device, it is essential to check the settings. Have you entered the correct settings? Again, it is best to check before setting out for your walk or starting your exercise program.

3. It is also a good idea to make sure that your personal data has been added correctly to the app. Don’t forget that personal data can change. For instance, if you lose weight, you need to update your Fitbit.

4. The stride length matters. I did not realize that my stride length changed vastly when I did race walking. When I measured my race walking stride length, I found it vastly different from my standard walking length. Measure your stride length when you first get your Fitbit, and then check it from time to time.

5. You should also check for Firmware updates. I love my Fitbit, but I have to put my hand on my heart, and I do not always check for Firmware updates. Once again, this is something that applies to all of your devices. Okay, I know that we are all worried about downloading something we don’t want, but in general, you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to Fitbit. It is not like AliExpress is suddenly going to pop up.

6. What about the GPS? Unless you are going on a significant adventure out in the bush, you don’t need your GPS. However, turning it off can make a difference in how your Fitbit tracks your steps.

7. Completely restart your Fitbit from time to time. Yes, it is tempting to leave it on constantly to make sure you don’t miss any steps. However, restarting your Fitbit makes sure that all updates are integrated.

8. You should also add a new device. So doing can “wipe away” any problems you are experiencing.

9. Do you need to do a factory reset? Technically speaking, you should not have to do so. However, one of my “old” Fitbits, I did have to do a factory reset when I came back from a Greenland skiing adventure.

It also helps to log your non-active times. Fitbit lives to process data, and it even likes to process your non-active times. Remember that this is all about having a specific algorithm device. It loves to calculate.

Fitbit And Acceleration

Let’s talk about acceleration. It is an issue that we don’t think about regarding our fitness devices. However, it does matter a great deal.

What is an accelerometer? I have been using similar devices to Fitbit for a long time, so this is one of the things I looked into.

Accelerometers are electromechanical devices that measure the acceleration of a force. You’ll find them everywhere, including in your car and on airplanes. The force of acceleration is dynamic or static. Accelerometers measure our acceleration along three axes: Z, Y, and X.

For the accelerometer on your Fitbit to work properly, it matters where you wear your Fitbit. Therefore, finding the correct placement on your Fitbit is crucial.

Walking uphill and downhill can influence the step count. For example, you may take shorter steps when walking uphill and longer ones coming down. That can interfere with acceleration.

Cartesian coordinate system sketched with white chalk on a small isolated slate blackboard

Here Is How To Wear Your Fitbit The Right Way

Most importantly, make sure Fitbit fits snugly on your wrist. A loose fit will add extra steps or miscalculate them in other ways.

Don’t wear your Fitbit on top of clothing or next to accessories such as armbands and bangles.

When you wear your Fitbit on a clip, make sure you change your setting to the clip. Many users forget about that. Familiarise yourself with the settings on your Fitbit. All of the models work slightly differently.

Check Your Personal Data And Stride Length

It is all too easy to forget about checking your data. Be honest with yourself and enter all of the information. What matters more than anything is your weight.

Once your data has been entered, Fitbit will find it easier to keep on top of personal tracking data.

As we mentioned before, you need to measure your stride length. This is how you do it.

When you have the time, go somewhere you know the distance. Suppose you don’t have a place near you. Measure the distance in a location and use that information. It can be your garden or a designated area in a park.

Make a note of the distance you travel in a certain number of steps. For example, the best distance is 50 steps.

You need to divide the distance traveled by the number of steps you took to determine your stride length. You probably remember this calculation from school.

Add the information to your Fitbit. This is where everything changed for me. The stride length between race walking and normal Fitness walking varies greatly. Change the setting and save it if you do different forms of walking and exercise.

More Tricks That You May Find Useful

The Firmware is easy to update. You can do so in the Fitbit App. First, tap on the account icon and tap your tracker. Then tap the update button.

As we mentioned, if you are not interested in GPS, you can turn off the GPS tracker. One of the best ways to do so is to use your online Fitbit account. However, I have had problems turning off the tracker using my device.

If you think that restarting your Fitbit will help you, follow the instructions for your device. When you have an older Fitbit, you may have to find you have to plug your recharge cable into your Fitbit to restart it.

Before you decide to remove your Fitbit and add it as a new device, ensure that you have synched all of the data. It only takes a few minutes.

Restart your Fitbit and add it as a new device under set up a new device.

Factory Resetting Your Fitbit

You should avoid this as it wipes all of the data. If you do have to go down this route, make sure your device is synced so that you can reload your data.

Don’t worry, you can’t do a factory reset by accident. Instead, the device will ask you if you want to do it.

Suppose you want a super correct step count. You do need to log your inactive times. I call it downtime.

The alternative is to take them off if you don’t want the number of steps you are using when cleaning the house to be taken into account.

Do A Step Test

You can also do a step test if all else fails.

Start your tracker and put it on correctly. Next, walk 100 steps making sure your entire foot hits the ground. Now you can check your track, ensuring the proper step count is showing.

The algorithm on the Fitbit will credit you for all of the steps you do, including walking around the kitchen.

Yes, it can cause differences, but they will not be vast.

Wearing different kinds of walking shoes can matter. For example, my step count changes when I train in my MBT shoes. So bear that in mind if you are into MBT walking.

Wrapping it Up

Yes, it is great to have an accurate step count. But unless you are an athlete who needs to have the perfect step count, it is best not to worry about too much.

The smart thing to do is check your Fitbit once in a while. Making sure that your physical data is factual matters more than anything. If you think your Fitbit is not tracking steps, go through the ten steps and check out that your Fitbit is FIT and working okay. Remember that technology is never perfect, and step counting is not an exact science.