Pedometer Walking

How to use this device for improved fitness and weight loss

Pedometer walking is an effective way to lose weight, get fit and improve your overall health.

A review of 26 studies on pedometer usage was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and found that this little device increased physical activity, decreased Body Mass Index (a measure of weight that factors pounds and height) as well as blood pressure. A study conducted in 2012 by Stanford University found that people wearing a pedometer walked about a mile a day more than those who didn't wear one.

How can you use pedometer walking to get fit and feel great? Here is the complete guide to using, wearing and selecting the best pedometer for you.

How Do Pedometers Work?

Pedometers, also known as step-counters, count movements that your body makes, such as walking, jogging, running or jumping up and down. Each one has a type of mechanism in it that counts a step when the impact of your foot striking the ground is registered.

Many pedometers use a spring-mounted lever arm system. When your foot strikes the ground, one end of the lever moves down and makes contact with a metallic surface, closes an electric circuit and counts a step.

Accelerometer-based pedometers, also known as piezoelectric, contain tiny crystals that get stressed when your foot strikes the ground, which causes a voltage to be generated and registers a step.

Research in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that the accelerometer-based devices are the most accurate and reliable.

How to Use a Pedometer

Pedometer walking is effective and motivational. Research shows that those who wear them are able to increase their daily step count by 2,000 steps, which equals one mile.

If you’d like pedometer walking to help you become more physically active, lose weight and improve your fitness level, consider taking the 10,000 steps a day challenge.

This challenge follows the U.S. Surgeon General’s guideline for the amount of daily physical activity necessary to maintain good health.

Using a pedometer to help you measure your daily step count is an effective way to track your steps and stay on target.

If you find that you aren’t meeting the recommended 10,000 steps a day, here are some great ideas to add more steps to your day.

How to Wear a Pedometer

The device should be clipped on your waist, above your knee and should be parallel to the ground. Most models come with a safety leash that should also be worn to prevent them from falling off. Newer models now allow you to wear them in your shirt pocket, too.

The models with the spring-mounted lever mechanisms will not be able to register your steps if they lean to one side so they cannot be worn in the pocket. It’s important that they stay upright.

If you’re looking for a model that can be worn inside your pocket or even in your purse, an Omron pedometer is recommended. They are highly reliable and accurate, even when worn in a pocket or purse.

Finding the Best Pedometer

The best step-counter for you depends on your needs. If you’re looking for an accurate, reliable device that simply counts steps (no bells and whistles), you can find a great model for less than $20. Read these recommendations for the best pedometer to fit your lifestyle and your budget.

It's even possible to get a free pedometer if you know where to look for one. Click here for my tips on how to find one.

Pedometer Accuracy

Would you like to determine if your pedometer is accurately counting your steps? Use this quick and simple test:

  • Wear your pedometer and set it to ‘0’.
  • Take 20 steps, then check the readout.

A perfect pedometer will have counted 20 steps, but if it’s off by more than two steps either way, try repositioning the device directly above your knee and try the test again.

Another handy tool is the Google Pedometer.  It will help you quickly and easily track how many miles you've walked. It can also help you plan new future routes.

Pedometer walking will give you the motivation to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals. This tiny device can be very effective in helping you to meet your daily step count goals.


Source: Bravata, DM, Smith-Spangler, C, Sundaram V, et al. Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: A systematic review. JAMA. 2007;298;2296-2304.

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