A pedometer can measure the steps taken, and distance covered, when you run.
Whatever it is, few deny that exercise is good for you. Like with any other form of exercise, the more you do it the fitter you become.
After what you’ll probably see as a surprisingly short space of time, you’ll also start to notice the benefits. Maybe you’ll notice your slimmer waistline, or the fact that you seem to have far more energy, or maybe you’re becoming more confident.
Basic pedometers measure steps, distance, time taken and calories. They’re really designed for people who go walking. So if you haven’t exercised for a while, this would be a great place to start.
And by recording what you do, you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making. Knowing this often encourages people to set their own targets for their next walk.
There’s a plethora of pedometers on the market. How to choose a suitable pedometer may be a painful task. Fortunately, we have selected some of the most popular pedometers.
- The 5 Best Pedometer – Our Picks 2019
- Things to Consider Before You Buy Pedometer
- Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Pedometer
- Using a Pedometer to Lose Weight
The 5 Best Pedometer – Our Picks 2019
5.Letsfit Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Pedometer Watch – Best For Running
Can a Pedometer be Used For Running? Don’t forget that your stride will be longer when you run than when you walk.
For this reason many people suggest purchasing a wrist based pedometer if you intend to use it while running.
A pedometer wristband or bracelet will give you a more accurate recording as it tracks your arm movements rather than your hips.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Pedometer
If you think that this is just the thing you need to get your body moving, we’ve looked at some of the things you might like to consider before making a purchase.
The single most important attribute of a good pedometer is its accuracy.
Contrary to common belief, pedometers don’t track steps, they detect movement. Some models use a pendulum to detect the swing in your movement, so every time your body tilts to the side and your leg swings forward, a step is registered.
More sophisticated models use tri-axis accelerometers. These are microchips which detect the changes in force which occur when you move your legs.
If you simply use the pedometer when walking, the distance calculated may be reasonably accurate, but clearly, as step distance is not consistent, it will not be as accurate as the gps enabled models. Other factors which effect accuracy include,
- Internal Mechanism.
The internal mechanism in some pendulum models can wear down over time. The springs can become thin and stretchy resulting in the steps being undercounted.
- Walking Speed
Studies have shown that pedometers are most accurate when you walk faster than 4.8k (3m) per hour.
- Stride Length
Small steps, like those taken when window shopping, are unlikely to be counted at all.
Attaching a pedometer to thin clothing, can result in its weight tilting it forward. As the pedometer is not sitting on the hip correctly, steps may not be counted at all.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Pedometer
As well as the mechanism within your pedometer, you’ll also want to consider other factors such as,
- Where to wear it
Pedometers are available to be worn not only on the waist, but also on the wrist and in the pocket.
- Susceptibility to damage
Most pedometers are open faced. While they are easy to refer to during exercise, they could be damaged if they take a hard knock. An alternative would be to purchase a flip cover model which offers more protection, but requires you to lift the lid every time you want to read the display.
Advances in technology have resulted in models with more functionality being available. Additional features to consider include,
It’s quite common for pedometers to now show your activity over a 7 day period. Some models even have a 30 day memory.
- Heart rate monitor
If you walk because your health prevents you from undertaking more strenuous activity, a heart rate monitor could be a useful additional to have. Heart rate monitors also show you the effort you are putting into your exercise and are perhaps a more reliably way of determining your fitness.
Talking pedometers are now available. They’re ideal for walkers with impaired vision.
A computer linked pedometer will allow you to view your activity online. Wired models require a USB connection to transfer your data, while wireless models will transmit via wifi. A number of apps are available to help motivate you and given you a better understanding of your fitness.
Pedometer watches come in three varieties,
- Separate sensor
A sensor is worn on the shoe or the waist. This transmits data to the watch.
- Watch sensor
This sensor is built into the watch and therefore worn on the wrist. If you don’t move your arms enough, the steps you take will not be counted.
These pedometer watches measure distance and speed using GPS satellites. They don’t record steps and if you work out on a treadmill, they won’t give you a distance reading either! This may also be true of any other indoor activity undertaken.
Using a Pedometer to Lose Weight
Studies have shown that most inactive people who start walking with a pedometer increase their activity over time by on average 2,000 steps a day. Everything else being equal, this means more calories are being burnt and weight is lost. While this may not be noticeable at first, over time you’ll notice the difference.
The problem is that generally speaking, for most of us, other things aren’t equal. So while the accountability and motivational aspects of a pedometer lead to a strong argument that they can help people to lose weight, it’s not an automatic given.
If you decide to reward yourself for taking a long walk by sitting down to choc ice and chips, you’ll have just undone all your good work.
Weight lose happens when you consistently expend more calories than you consume. As many pedometers also record the number of calories burnt, you know what you’re calorie intake must not exceed if you are to lose weight.
Many foods now report the calories contained within them, so if you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a journal of your calorie intake can be just as beneficial as your exercise journal. By comparing the two you’ll know whether you’re losing weight. Although it shouldn’t be too long before the scales and the fit of your clothes also confirm your weight loss.
These days many of the more comprehensive activity tracking also incorporate a pedometer.
If you participate in sports other than walking and running, a different type of activity tracker is probably best for you.
Otherwise, the simple pedometer may be just the thing you need to get the body you want.