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Pedometers (cont.)

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How do I increase my daily steps?

Looking for ideas to increase your steps? A researcher asked 34 employees of a small northeastern college what strategies they used to increase their steps. Below are the results (numbers in parentheses are the percentage of participants who used the strategies). The employees said that they had increased their steps by taking the time to walk:

  • To a meeting or work-related errand (65%)
  • After work (50%)
  • Before work (35%)
  • At lunch (47%)
  • On the weekend (32%)
  • While traveling (32%)
  • With the dog (32%)
  • To a destination (work/store) (29%)
  • Parked farther away (50%)
  • Used the stairs rather than an elevator (24%)
  • Performed other cardiovascular activity (539%)

My guess is that if you scanned your week, you would find times and opportunities when you could walk a little more. I also suggest pedometer contests at your office or even at home. Divide your office colleagues into teams and post a big chart in a conspicuous place with the cumulative number of steps that all of you take each week, and then at the end of the month, give awards to the members of the team with the highest step count and give a special award to the individual who takes the most steps. At home, post a chart on the fridge and see who takes the most steps. The winner doesn't have to do dishes for a week! Make the contests fun. The good news is that anyone with a pedometer can participate.

Where can I purchase a pedometer?

Pedometers are available online, at sporting-goods stores, and large retail outlets. Look for pedometers that were reviewed in the study I presented in this article, but keep in mind that new models of pedometers have emerged over the years, and that some vendors sell the same brands under a different name. For instance, the Accusplit Eagle 120XL, although not reviewed in the study, is the same as the Yamax Digi-Walker. Ask the vendor for details, and make sure that you can return it if it's not accurate, no matter which one you buy.

Some pedometers have a safety strap or leash that loops around a belt or belt loop so if your pedometer pops off you won't lose it. These are good to have because it's not uncommon to hear stories about pedometers falling off and breaking or even popping into the toilet! Also make sure that your pedometer has a cover (most do). This will prevent you from accidentally hitting the reset button in the middle of the day. It's frustrating to hit the button and reset your pedometer to zero when you've worked so hard to accumulate 5,000 steps!

Below are two reliable vendors that sell pedometers online, but you can find others if you search.

Go for it!

Don't expect a pedometer to zap you into walking like crazy the moment you put one on, but they do provide objective, accurate, and reliable data to help you assess how many steps you're taking. My experience is that individuals are shocked when they see how few steps they take and that the feedback from the pedometer is a motivator to increase steps during the day. Most Americans don't take close to 10,000 steps per day, and so if this device gives you a little oomph to move more, then it's worth the investment! Go for it!

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery

Medically reviewed by Jonathan Miller, MD; Board Certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

REFERENCES:

Lichtman SW et al. Discrepancy between self-reported and actual caloric intake and exercise in obese subjects. N Engl J Med. 1992 Dec 31;327(27):1893-8.

Melanson EL, et al Commercially available pedometers: considerations for accurate step counting. Prev Med. 2004 Aug;39(2):361-8.

Melanson EL, et al Commercially available pedometers: considerations for accurate step counting. Prev Med. 2004 Aug;39(2):361-8.

Crouter SE, Schneider PL, Karabulut M, Bassett DR Jr. Validity of 10 electronic pedometers for measuring steps, distance, and energy cost. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Aug;35(8):1455-60.

Crouter SE, Schneider PL, Karabulut M, Bassett DR Jr. Validity of 10 electronic pedometers for measuring steps, distance, and energy cost. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Aug;35(8):1455-60.

Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR Jr,. How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health. Sports Med. 2004;34(1):1-8.

Le Masurier GC, Sidman CL, Corbin CB. Accumulating 10,000 steps: does this meet current physical activity guidelines? Res Q Exerc Sport. 2003 Dec;74(4):389-94.

Crouter SE, Schneider PL, Karabulut M, Bassett DR Jr. Validity of 10 electronic pedometers for measuring steps, distance, and energy cost. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Aug;35(8):1455-60.

Croteau KA. Strategies used to increase lifestyle physical activity in a pedometer-based intervention. J Allied Health. 2004 Winter;33(4):278-81


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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Pedometers - Fitness Goals Question: Do you use a pedometer? How has it helped with fitness goals?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/pedometers/article.htm

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