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Pedometers Motivate & Encourage

Researchers from the University of Tennessee asked overweight women to clip on pedometers to track their steps. They divided these women into two groups. One group was told to aim for 10,000 steps a day (the common recommendation considered to be "active"), while the second group was told simply to walk briskly for 30 minutes, most days of the week (a common—but minimum—fitness recommendation). The study found that the step counters averaged over 10,000 steps daily, while the minute counters averaged between 8,270 to 9,505 steps on the days the DID meet their 30-minute goals, and merely 5,597 steps on the days they didn’t exercise for 30 minutes. The researchers conclude that setting your goals in steps (rather than minutes) may be the best way to increase your overall activity.

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If you’re having a hard time getting into a regular fitness routine, using a pedometer may help motivate you. It’s a simple way to track your progress, and you can easily continue to beat your past records (even if only by 5, 10, or 100 steps). Tracking your steps is another way to gauge your activity level—especially for the average deskbound worker. (People with active jobs, such as servers, may exceed 10,000 steps at work alone, but should still plan structured fitness activities.)

Walking less than 5,000 steps daily is considered sedentary, 5,000 to 9,999 is considered low to somewhat active, and 10,000 steps or more is active.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • Great article. I love to walk. - 11/27/2013 5:46:56 PM
    I love my pedometer, can't live without it. My husband bought me 1 for valentines day this year, b/c my lat one broke.(i go thur these like crazy) anyway i usually put 10,000 steps plus. ion good days I can can reach 20,000 steps that's when i walk twice that day. I'm not sure if it helps me loose tons of weight as I have been at this level of weight loss for a month now (4#s) but i feel better when i'm walking. - 5/26/2013 9:44:17 AM
  • KYOSHI216
    I think a pedometer is great but I work very close to a vibrating machine. I'm sure it puts the numbers out of whack. I also don't really understand how to set one up. - 7/5/2012 9:02:34 AM
  • My pedometer is my "stealth tool". I really don't know a better motivator to keep moving. I've gone from being ultra-efficient around the house to making multiple trips up and down the stairs, just to get the numbers up. Of course it's invaluable during workouts, too. Many times I'll add another 15 minutes to my workout, based on my demonstrated level of activity during the day.

    I really cannot do without it and I've given a number as gifts, too. - 9/29/2011 2:06:41 AM
  • Pedometers are a great way to get motivated and compete with yourself to reach a daily target. And walking is free! - 12/7/2010 4:13:15 AM
  • I too love my Pedometer. I have an older OMRON that is falling apart. It has survived hundreds of falls from carrying kids and getting knocked off my belt. I've tried two different ones, but they just aren't as nice as this one. I don't know what'll I do when this guy finally kicks the bucket! - 9/1/2010 2:23:33 PM
  • My pedometer gets put on as soon as I get out of bed and hit the bathroom regardless of pj or workout clothes. I keep "my little buddy" with me all day long until I know I am truly done for the day and am going to be just "vegging" before bedtime. Its amazing how much that little guy motivates me to get up and keep moving when I look down and see I just need a few more steps or doing a little more will put me just above the day before. I've talked a lot of people into getting one and strapping it on. Plus for those who aren't currently active it gives you something to aim for each day and try to increase by small increments until your numbers seem to be zooming by in the day! :) - 4/21/2010 8:41:47 AM
  • Thanks for the artical. I have a pedometer and don't leave home without it. I average about 17,000 steps a day. I have an active job. - 3/30/2010 12:42:34 PM
  • /these resuts exactly reflect what was happening to me before I used a pedometer. I find it a great motivator to do another walk to get my steps in. - 10/11/2009 1:13:46 PM
  • I'm glad I found these comments. I've been using a cheap (read "free") pedometer from Weight Watchers, and it falls off and resets to zero almost every time I get up from my desk at work. Does anyone have that problem with the better brands? - 10/11/2009 11:45:31 AM
  • I also like the omron - 10/11/2009 10:40:39 AM
  • I got started with a pedometer, and it really worked for me. I use an Omron HJ112 I got from Amazon. - 8/4/2009 10:01:01 PM
    I think the Accusplit Pedometer is great. It is rated very high for accuracy. You can get one for about $20 with basic features or up to $30 for extras features (totalizer, mileage, etc.). I highly recommend it. It definitely encourages me to get moving when I have a slow day at work. - 2/25/2009 8:48:58 AM
  • I don't really use a pedometer because I do a lot of cardio exercise but I am seriously thinking about purchasing one. I see a lot of people talking about how well they do and I think it might take some guess work out for many. Any suggestions on which is better? I see the add here that shows the ormon. Anyone know what is good or better? - 1/31/2009 1:01:56 PM
  • which is the best pedometer,i see so many and i am confused on which one to buy that would last . - 1/18/2009 2:24:43 AM

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