Highlights reasons for using a pedometer when walking for exercise. Describes pedometers, and offers directions for calibrating, if needed. Answers various questions regarding pedometer use, as well as getting the most from your pedometer.
Fitness: Using a Pedometer or Step Counter
Experts say that to stay fit it is important to be physically active
for at least 2½ hours a week. Walking is one of the best things you can do to
be more active. You don't have to do your walking all at once. You can split it
up. It's fine to walk in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and
For most people, walking is an easy and low-cost way to get moving
and stay fit. Using a pedometer or step counter can help you track the number
of steps you take each day. Then you can set goals to take more steps and be
Using a pedometer or step counter is an easy
and fun way to track how active you are. It adds up all the steps you take
during the day.
Using a pedometer can remind you to walk more. A
quick check may show that you need more steps for the day.
pedometer can help you set goals to take more steps in a day. You may need to
find creative ways to add more steps, but walking more will help you get more
exercise, feel better, and stay healthy.
How can you get the best use out of a pedometer?
Make wearing your pedometer a habit. Put it on first thing in the morning as
you are getting dressed. Leave it on until you go to bed. Follow these steps to
get the best use out of your pedometer:
Step one: Find your activity level
For the first week, go about your usual
routine. Don't change how active you are yet.
Write down your
steps each day in a step diary. This will give you a starting record of how
active you are.
Look over this record for the week to see where you
can add steps to your daily routine.
Step two: Set goals
Set a goal for the second week. At first, try
to add 300 to 500 steps to your day. Then work toward 2,000 more steps a day.
This adds about 1 mile, or 20 minutes of walking, to your routine.
Increase your walking in simple ways. These suggestions can get
you started, and you can probably think of other ways. To add more steps to
your everyday activities:
Park farther than usual from your
workplace or a store (or get off the bus or subway before your stop), and walk
the extra distance.
Take the stairs rather than the
Walk a lap inside the grocery store before you start
Walk instead of driving for short trips. Walk to school,
work, the grocery store, a friend's house, or a restaurant for lunch.
Record your steps each day.
Step three: Keep moving
Check how well you did from week one to week
Set a new goal for the next week.
Work your way up
to walking at least 10,000 steps each day.
Other Works Consulted
Bravata DM, et al. (2007). Using pedometers to
increase physical activity and improve health. JAMA,
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.