Fitness Articles

Adding Steps Could Subtract Pounds

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.

Action Sparked
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.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

Member Comments

  • My Fitbit really helps keep me accountable.
  • I have a Fitbit but I need to walk more.
  • My coworkers and I are in a walking challenge and we've come up with two ways to sneak in extra steps. One way is that we walk in place when we are chit-chatting in the office or one phone calls. The other way is to take extra laps down the hallway when we're taking a bathroom or water break. We don't walk so much during those breaks that we're stealing company time, just enough to sneak in a few extra steps. On a good day, I'm at 10,000 steps before I even leave the office.
  • I remember Covert Bailey's book Fit or Fat mentioned how one of his clients lost weight when she started taking her dog on daily 1 mile walks. It seems she was at a tipping point and the extra steps helped her slide down the other side of the hill.

    My work place has a wellness program and I participate in it. My daily goal is 5,000 steps. At first, I found myself jogging around my apartment to get the few steps in to get there. Most days I'm over 7500 steps.

    After the new year starts, I'm upping my daily goal.
  • I am 64 years old. I had a great streak going walking 10,000 steps every day. However, my knees were hurting more than usual. Now I'm walking 5000 to 6000 every day. I hope that I can get back into the 10,000 steps a day soon. I love my SPAT and how it lights up when I get more and more steps in!!
  • Was amazed by the last bit of information on the how many steps you need to walk in order to be considered "active". I work in an office and sit all day. I'm very lucky my employer allows me to walk twice a day for 30 min each. I'm still not up to active status, only getting in 7000-8000 steps a day. But I do have to say after having used a cheap pedometer and then purchasing a Fitbit Surge, I recommend to all, all you need is a cheap pedometer. Does exactly what you need to count your steps for the day and tracking that information on Spark People does the rest. I'm finding that exercising doesn't have to be expensive unless you want it to. There are less expensive alternatives out there that do just as good. It's all about your personal preferences.
  • This article is on point. I find I'm more motivated by reaching my step goal than fitness minutes.
  • I have a Fitbit and really like it. It goes on first thing in the morning. It's not as easy as you think to get steps in, especially if you work in an office. Also, if you can't walk for long periods it will be a challenge to get over 5,000 steps in.
  • Great article. I love to walk.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pedometers are a great way to get motivated and compete with yourself to reach a daily target. And walking is free!
  • 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!
  • 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! :)

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.