A Pedometer That’s Right for You

How to choose the right pedometer - best for you.
Choosing the best pedometer can be as difficult as selecting which path to take...

You already know that you want a pedometer you just don’t know which one is right for your needs. With thousands of styles and nearly as many options making the right decision on a pedometer that you’ll be happy with for years starts to look like a daunting, day long, research task.

This article should help you narrow down your choices based on features and your personality type. Since a number of options are now available in these fitness tools at the best prices we’ve seen in years, you should be able to find the perfect one for you, at the best price, as simple or complex as you need it. Remember that a pedometer is a great motivator – if you love the one you own you’ll be more apt to wear it, set personal fitness goals with it, and get into the shape you deserve.

You will walk more or at the very least be more apt to take more steps throughout the day while wearing a pedometer. Even more so if you really like your pedometer, the features, the design. Taking those extra steps is the difference between losing weight and just staying where you are – or worse, steadily gaining weight as our metabolisms slow down with age. Your pedometer is like your conscience, it will motivate you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, to walk down the hall instead of making that phone call, or to walk the dog instead of just opening the back the door and letting him out into the yard.

So let’s start by organizing the pedometers by personality. The May/June 2006 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine was one of the first to classify pedometers this way and it has helped a lot of people over the years to choose the pedometer that was just right for them.

Four years later, we’re at it again on Pedometers.org…

We’ll start with the basic six and add more based on your comments (leave a comment below if you feel the list lacks your personality type in any way).

  • Pedometers for Music-loving Walkers
  • Pedometers for Overweight Walkers
  • Pedometers for Cardio-conscious Walkers
  • Pedometers for Cross-trainers and Advanced Walkers
  • Pedometers for Walkers on a Budget
  • Pedometers for Techie Walkers

Pedometers for Music-Loving Walkers

Over the years there have been many pedometers released by just as many companies and very few have been successfully received by the new walking-for-fitness or the more experienced walking-fit. In fact for those who prefer to have music in their ears rather than city noise or the buzz of mosquitoes, the IPOD nano (which – 5th Generation – also doubles as a Pedometer) is likely your best choice. The pedometer bundled within the Nano uses the built-in accelerometer to keep track of your steps. Set a daily step goal or leave it on all the time so that it counts every step you take.

For the walking-fit group you can beef up your running and gym exercise controls with add-ons such as: Rock and Run – strap on your Nike shoes and they’ll ‘talk’ to your IPOD Nano pedometer. You can keep an eye on minutes ran, miles covered, and get real-time voice feedback to your workouts. Rock the Gym is a similar feature for fitness enthusiasts who work out at a gym. The iPod nano plus a Nike / iPod compatible cardio machine records pace, time, and distance you’ve worked out at every session.

Finally…when you return home you simply connect your Nano to your MAC or PC and iTunes will automatically send your workout data to the Nike Server -stored securely for as long as you want. Nike will also recommended new fitness challenges for you based on your current level, create custom training programs for you and suggest maps of new routes to try. A social networking feature is also prevalent on the site so you can meet and be inspired by people of like minds worldwide.

Check Pedometers.org Reviews for Pedometer MP3 Players

Pedometers for Overweight Walkers

…coming soon…

The Best Pedometer for Techie Walkers

Top 5 Pedometer Reviews for Cardio-Conscious Walkers

Best Pedometer for Cross-Trainers and Advanced Walkers

Pedometers for Budget-Conscious Walkers

MP3 Capable Pedometer Review

Philips Activa Workout Monitoring MP3 Player (Act101m/17) – NEW for 2010! I’m really excited about this new-to-the-scene pedometer. Featuring ‘TempoMusic’ which is an automatic analysis of user aerobic intensity to find and match songs on the play list. Keeps you motivated during a workout by shouting feedback and offering encouragement of workout progress while selecting appropriate music to match workout intensity. Track your progress with included software on your PC or MAC (USB).

This popular pedometer has been out of stock regularly but a new shipment is in and the price couldn’t be better. MP3 Pedometer – less than $40.

Oregon Scientific PE829 Talking Pedometer with FM Radio – seemed the most promising when considering the list of features for Music Loving Walkers, but falls short with it’s users. Most common complaints are the difficulty in setup, poorly written instruction manual, and a short battery life.

Omron HJ-720ITC Pocket Pedometer with Advanced Omron Health Management Software -Top rated since 2007 (USB)

Highgear Fitware FM Radio Pedometer with Watch, Alarm, and Chronograph – Cheap, without a tuner for the radio, inaccurate, discontinued model. 1.5

Highgear Fitware Pedometer – with Heart Rate monitor but not terribly accurate. Somewhat technical to set up and operate. 3.5

Haier ibiza Rhapsody HHH1A-2G Trainer Sport MP3 Player with Pedometer and Heart-Rate Monitor – Heart rate monitor is not ‘hands free’ – not great for spinning, cycling, etc. Small buttons, instruction manual could use improvement, sound quality not great. 3.0

Sportline 375 MP3 Pedometer + FM Radio – No song title display and FM reception is lacking. (USB) Moderately tricky to set up.

Haier ibiza Rhapsody HHS1A-2G Sport MP3 Player with Pedometer – Waterproof, dim screen, random playlist shuffle. 3.0

GSI All-in-One Sport Pedometer/MP3 Player – Counts steps, distance travelled, calories burned. (USB) UNRATED

RCA S2501 Jet Stream Series 1GB Sport MP3 Player with Wireless Headphones – Well loved unit that is currently discontinued. Very few complaints from owners on this one – most of them centered around the headset chargers. Good sound, full color display. 4.0

RCA Jet 4 GB Sports MP3 Player with Video, Music, FM Radio, and Sports Features – discontinued. Technically buggy. Average user rating: 2.5

RCA Jet 1 GB – no pedometer but it does record lap times, running times and gives BMI. Remaining units are deeply discounted likely due to the low user ratings of 2.5 -2.0

Introduction to The Pedometer

“What is it? How does it work? And why do I want one?”

Let’s cover all these questions and a little bit more…

First of all a pedometer can be as simple as “a device the counts the steps a person takes.” Not quite as simple, the high-tech modern units can also measure and record heart rate, distance traveled in miles, count calories burned, create fitness programs and goals (via a connection to your home computer software or through internet services), and more. Let’s not get too distracted with the sophisticated features of new pedometers though – and get back to the basics for now.

So why would you want to use a pedometer? Well, all types of studies and research have now found that people with pedometers are more active than those without. It’s all about awareness of our lifestyles and how much exercise we get on a daily basis. A pedometer is a fantastic – low or high tech – tool that motivates use to be more physically active. Pedometers measure our physical activity and allow us to then set specific and measurable goals for the following week.Strap on your pedometer and take a walk along the boardwalk with me...

If you’re wondering how they measure the value of a step, allow me to illustrate. Most pedometers come with a small weighted arm mechanism built into the unit. This mechanism is suspended by a spring that moves up and down for every step taken. These are highly tuned units that are very specific in design to monitor the type of movement akin to walking. With every step taken the arm mechanism moves down and touches a contact that records the step.

This is why it is important to wear a pedometer midway between your hip and belly button. Wear it on the opposite side of your dominant leg (your dominant leg is the one that you’d use to kick a ball), but check your manual for your specific pedometer as some state to wear it on your non-dominant leg for best results.

How many steps a day make a difference in my fitness? You’ll see me talk a lot about 10,000 steps. 10,000 steps per day is the recommended number of steps that the average healthy adult should be moving every day to maintain their health.

Where did 10,000 come from? Well, the number 10,000 approximates 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. We’d all be a lot better off to strive for 15,000 steps per day (and I’ll show you in a future article how to easily add 5,000 steps to your day) for increased health, weight loss, and other benefits.

Since you are interested now in walking towards better health, I might as well share some facts with you regarding consumption (food) versus burning off those calories. I know these numbers changed the way I eat and make me much more conscious of every bite I take! I always ask myself now, “do I have time today for an extra 3,000 steps to burn off this Cola drink?”

Approximations of Intake versus Steps

  • 20 steps per calorie
  • 1 Triscuit cracker: 400 steps
  • 10 French Fries: 2000 steps
  • 12 oz cola drink: 3020 steps
  • 1 Slice of Pizza: 6900 steps
  • 1 Super Big Gulp: 12000 steps
  • 1 Super-sized Big Mac Meal: 35080 steps

Other Exercise versus Walking for Caloric Burn…

  • cycling at 5 mph: 50 steps/minute
  • cycling at 15 mph: 150 steps/minute
  • leisurely, but steady swim: 100 steps/minute
  • 40 minute brisk walk = 5000 steps

Fitness Gifts Between Friends

Fitness related gifts must be given with a measure of caution.Over the years you’ve dieted, changed exercise routines, bought equipment, got a membership to the gym, changed your life style, changed your eating habits, read books, taken classes – so on and so on – to get and keep fit, right?

Let me ask you though…have you ever tried taking on accountability with a ‘fitness friend’? Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting that you haven’t, but in parts of my own life I’ve retreated into seclusion thinking that extra weight and loss of fitness was only my problem. My friends were fit and trim which only made it harder on my psyche that I was carrying around an extra 20 pounds.

Last year at a Christmas party one of my friends gave me a pedometer. I was instantly excited about this gadget and all the programming features, but later found out that she had been worried to give it to me. Worried that I might have been offended because I’d assume she was saying that I need to lose weight.

Since those days I have given many of my friends and associates a pedometer as Birthday and Christmas gifts and been met with varying reactions. So, if you’re thinking of purchasing a pedometer as a gift for someone, here are some tips I’ve gained over the years.

First of all, you don’t want to be giving a fitness related gift to someone unless you’re either:

(a) fit yourself, or
(b) hoping the recipient will become your fitness accountability partner.

You’ll want to know the benefits of regular exercise and how a pedometer can help you reach your own fitness goals before you present a fitness related gift to someone. If the recipient knows that you are looking out for their best interest, that you want them to live a longer and healthier life, the pedometer will be well received.

I always give the high-tech pedometers as gifts as, if nothing else, the recipient will be less offended because you appear to have lavished them with something new and expensive when the functions and options are varied. (Don’t worry, you won’t need to spend a lot more money to get the newest, high tech pedometer.) The fact is that we live in a high-tech, gadget-oriented, world. Women love appliances that make their lives easier and men enjoy new gadgets that they use and display like a trophy. These electronic wonders add some spice and interest to new hobbies and habits.

My point is that you want to shop for a pedometer that has new and innovative technology. This might be a pedometer with speed and distance units that utilize GPS technology. These units give constant readouts on the owner’s speed, distance, pace, and some come with add features such as a heart rate monitor that can be stored on a separate recorder unit…which eventually can be downloaded to your computer.

If your recipient is into mountain climbing, shop for the ones that measure altitude, temperature, and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) levels. If they’re a golfer, grab one that records and stores golf scores plus measures the swing speed.

Options are aplenty – from the most simple fitness gift to high tech sports watches – whichever one you choose offers you the satisfaction that you have given a gift from the heart that assists your recipient in living a healthier, active, and longer life.

Add Some Steps to Your Day!

I know, I know. 10,000 steps a day to maintain your physical condition or 15,000 steps a day to lose weight and firm up sounds like a lot at first, but strap on a pedometer and go about your day and you’d be surprised how many steps you actually take even when you’re not trying.

Once you’ve counted and measured the steps you already take with a pedometer, here are some ways to add more steps to your day…Strap on a pedometer and get moving. How to add steps to your day.

  • Hand deliver office memos or walk down the hall to a co-worker’s office.
  • Take a lover’s walk, in the park, even if it’s raining.
  • Take the stairs – even if this means you need to get off the elevator a few floors early.
  • Walk up the escalator in malls and subways.
  • Park farther from the office, the grocery store, or the shopping mall.
  • Walk the kids to school instead of driving them.
  • Take the dog for a walk instead of just letting him outside the back door.
  • Take your designated breaks at work and walk around the building or city block as many times as time allows.
  • Do your grocery shopping in the order you have items listed, instead of going aisle-by-aisle.
  • Take the kids to the park and either run around with them or walk laps around the play area while they play on the swings and slides.

By adding steps to your day you are essentially increasing your level of fitness and burning more calories. Every little bit moves you closer to your goal whether it be a fitness goal or a weight loss goal.

The American Medical Association states that by increasing activity, you will also:

  1. Increase stamina.
  2. Stimulate weight loss.
  3. Lower blood cholesterol.
  4. Lower blood pressure.
  5. Improve self image.
  6. Improve mood.
  7. Enhance quality of life.

And it that’s not enough to get you moving more with your pedometer, the AMA also says you will:

  1. Sleep better.
  2. Strengthen your heart and lungs.
  3. Decrease stress levels and the effects of stress.
  4. Increase your energy.
  5. Maintain appropriate weight.
  6. Lower triglycerides.
  7. Control blood sugar levels (and risks of diabetes).
  8. Feel better.
  9. Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
  10. Improve productivity in all areas of your life.
  11. Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
  12. Increase muscle tone.
  13. Reduce risk of dying prematurely.

Really? It’s a win/win situation. A pedometer strapped onto your waist inspiring you to move around more often and in no time you’ll be looking better, feeling better, plus all the benefits above.

Your new life begins today! A healthier, longer, and no doubt happier, life!

Pedometer Basics

Although they’ve been around for decades I am often asked by people I meet on my walks about the gadget I have strapped to my waist. It doesn’t seem to matter which country or city I’m walking in – the device and the concept behind the pedometer is not as well known as you’d think. If you’ve landed here because you want to know what a pedometer is and why you’d want one, then this article is just right for you. Pedometers are inexpensive tools that count your steps and keep you motivated in an exercise regime. They are, in effect, a fitness and weight loss tool.

The pedometer is a small – simple or complex – electronic device. The basic function of this device is to track and record how many steps you take throughout the day and over time. Most models also convert the steps into the number of miles walked, number of calories burned and, if you’re a Weight Watchers’ fan, the number of activity points you’ve earned. The more advanced pedometers store the data so you can track your progress from month to month and some even connect to your computer via a USB port so you can track your progress through software and online services.

On a personal level, the pedometer keeps you motivated to take more walks, park a little further from your destination, be more willing to climb the stairs, and always competing against your own personal best.

You’re not alone in finding that with a pedometer hanging from your waist you’ll be walking more. A study performed by the University of Minnesota had clear results that people wearing pedometers walk more, on average, than people not wearing them. The study split people into two groups. Both groups were encouraged in the same manner to walk each day – the members of one group were given pedometers, the others were not.

The members who had a pedometer increased their steps approximately 2100 per day – the equivalent to 20 minutes of steady walking or a 30% increase in their average routine. The members without a pedometer walked a little more than half as many blocks as the first group.

This isn’t just a short term anomaly. People who own and use a pedometer tend to stick to a walking routine longer as well.

Once you have your pedometer, set daily and weekly goals to get the most use out of it. Read other articles on www.Pedometers.org to learn how to set your baseline step rate and simple ways to increase the number of steps you take each day.

Doing your best to ignore the fact that you’re wearing a pedometer, carry on your normal routine for a few days to a week. Don’¬ít aim for a certain number of steps per day during this time or you will be defeating the exercise of increasing your step rate. You want to measure how many steps you’d normally take in a normal day, seven days a week, work days and weekends.

Next you’ll want to calculate the steps you took and make a goal to take 500 to 1000 steps more each day. Five hundred more steps is nothing more than taking a walk around your city block, parking at the other end of the parking lot, getting off the bus or subway one stop early, or walking in place while watching a 30 minute sitcom on television at the end of the day. Every week assess your progress and keep working up to a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you are participating in a challenge to lose weight you’ll want to increase your daily steps to 15,000 per day.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your exercise and a pedometer helps you to keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep at it.

Walking Off The Weight

It can sneak up on a person – this has happened to me four times in life – first a little weight goes on and then your clothes don’t fit anymore. Before you think I’m talking just about the ladies and pregnancy, don’t run off. This happens to all of us, men, women and children alike.

What will take and keep the weight off? Awareness and a pedometer. It has worked for me every time. I’m not asking you to change into a person who power walks in the morning, on your lunch hour and again after dinner – no – just to be aware of how much you do walk, how much you need to, to burn those calories, and to keep an eye on this ‘balance’ regularly. The fastest, easiest way to do so is the 10,000-15,000 step rate and a pedometer.

First and foremost, don’t feel alone in this. You and I are not the only two people who need to get fit and shed some weight. Americans and Canadians are eating more than ever before, more of the wrong foods as well, and exercising less. Our national health is in a steady and steep decline. Doctor and hospital visits are at all time highs.

However will we change our ways? Easy! One brisk 30-minute walk per day begins to turn that around – one person at a time.

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate activity each day and many of us are falling short and growing wider as a result. Some previous studies have shown that the average person takes about 3000 to 5000 steps a day and that is all the exercise their bodies’ receive. There simply aren’t enough steps in a busy lifestyle between our work desks, to our cars, to our recliners, to our beds. Not enough anyway, to burn off the food we consume on a daily basis.

If twenty to thirty minutes a day doesn’t really sound like much to you than consider that fitness experts recommend we walk 10,000-15,000 steps a day to maintain good health. So what does 10,000 steps look like and how long will it take to accomplish that many steps? The good news is that many of steps counted are performed in normal daily functions such as cleaning the house, taking out the trash, walking from the parking lot to the office. 10,000 steps are approximately 5 miles should you choose to take those steps in a row. Keep in mind too that the average person burns about 100 calories per mile walked. This also helps you to balance your daily intake of calories as well.

To discover how many steps you’ve taken or need to take daily you’ll need to buy and wear a pedometer. Wear it all day to gauge your step rate and progress and before long it will become an invaluable motivator.

Increase your steps whenever you can – you’ll love the results you’ll see in week 2, the end of the month, and certainly after 6 months! During the work week take walks at lunchtime. Evenings and weekends, take walks with your partner and/or children. Walk the dog. Walk to the grocery store or park at the far end of the shopping mall’s parking lot. Use stairs whenever possible – even for just a few flights.

Do you have ideas to share with people on increasing your steps while wearing a pedometer? Leave them in a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

Weight Watchers’ Magazine Review on Walking With A Pedometer

Weight Watchers MagazineUPDATE: See the new 2010 Weight Watchers Pedometer here.

In the March/April (2006) issue of Weight Watchers magazine a lot of new and vital information on the importance of walking with a pedometer to help burn more calories, get fit, and lose weight.

Within the Weight Watchers’ issue on Walking with a pedometer you’ll find: “Walk Where You Live”. This article contained valuable tips for walking programs that vary dependant upon your area type, e.g. rural, suburban, or urban areas.

An earlier aticle in the magazine, titled “Every Step Counts” shared some excellent insights:

  • Walking 10,000 steps per day helps you stay healthy while 15,000 will help you lose weight.
  • Walking assists in combatting high blood pressure, heard disease, and stroke.

Walking 10,000-15,000 steps per day is not really as hard as it sounds. Those ‘steps’ include the ones you take around the house, at the office, in your school’s hallways, shopping for groceries, browsing in the mall, and so on. If you need more ideas to increase your daily steps why not start with a pedometer to gauge your average, then try the tips below:

Step 1: Wear your new pedometer for a week and go about your normal routine to obtain an average daily step rate.

Step 2: Assess and make a firm commitment to increase your steps weekly by adding another 10% of your average to the next week’s daily step rate.

That same issue of Weight Watchers offered reviews on specific Pedometer Models. As this article is being editing in 2010 and most of the models have changed I won’t repeat the reviews here but create more updated pedometer model reviews in the coming weeks. Honorable mentions do go to Yamax (Japan), Freestyle (award winning), Accusplit (Taiwan), and Omron.

A Step Towards Health

Whenever I’ve taken on a new activity, interest or hobby I’ve always found that a gadget – no matter how small – is a great motivator. The same is true with exercise and fitness activities although I was somewhat surprised at just how much having a pedometer increased my enjoyment of my daily walk.

For years I’ve incorporated brisk walking into my exercise routine. Daily walks kept me fit and thin during my years of office work. A month of long walks with a stroller took off the post-pregnancy weight. At a time when I was running a home based business it was my routine walk that cleared my head and moved my mass even in lean economic times.

As you can see, I’m no stranger to a brisk walk, a long walk, or walking for fitness. This is why it came as somewhat of a shock when I received my first pedometer as a gift and found that it heightened my awareness and enjoyment of every walk, jog or run I took.

If you haven’t walked much in the past as a means to exercise, what’s stopping you? Walking is a fabulous, low-impact cardiovascular exercise that will tone your muscles and help you lose weight. Get yourself some good shoes, put on some comfortable clothes, book an hour away from the computer or desk, grab your pedometer and step out the door. You’ll love it and even if you don’t, within a week you’ll have formed a new habit and will start noticing changes in your physical well being.

If you are already reasonably fit you can walk with your regular running shoes or sneakers. In the winter I walk in warm winter boots with a supportive orthotic insole to protect my back, arch and joints. The point is: You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on specialty walking shoes to get started. Once you fall in love with walking you can spend the money but for now all you need is a decent pair runners (or comfortable shoes with orthotic insoles) and your pedometer to track your progress. Any of these footwear options allow for an enjoyable environment for your feet, and happy feet love to walk.