Need a little motivation to move more? A pedometer can help—here’s what you need to know to get started.
The job of a pedometer is simple: to count the steps you take. But seeing those steps add up can be really powerful as a motivational tool. And you can pick one up for a relatively low cost—$10 to $20. Experts recommend that most people gradually build up to taking 10,000 steps a day. Ask your doctor to help you set goals each week that are safe and doable for you. Here are more hints that can help you choose and use a pedometer.
Most of the pedometers sold today are electronic. Inside of a pedometer, there is a pendulum that bounces up and down when you walk or jog. The pedometer uses the movement of this pendulum to count your steps. One bounce equals one step.
No pedometer is perfect, but you want one that has 5% or less of a margin of error. To check your pedometer’s accuracy, put it on and walk 100 steps, counting out loud as you go. If the pedometer records fewer than 95 steps or more than 105, secure it better and do the test again. (If it is bouncing around, it may record movements other than steps.) If the pedometer still doesn’t match your count closely, return it and try a different model.
Besides a step counter, many pedometers have other features such as a stopwatch, clock, calorie-burn calculator, or even a GPS device. Ultimately, the best pedometer for you is one you are comfortable using.
When you buy a pedometer, wear it in the location recommended by the manufacturer, whether that’s on your arm, shoe, or waistband. Always wear it in the same location, so you can best compare one day’s count to the next.
Pedometers generally are small, so you can wear it all day long. (Every step counts!) Having it on all day might also inspire you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, just to rack up a few more steps.