The smallest choices make the biggest difference, and tracking your steps with a pedometer can motivate you to make more active choices by making a few changes in your routine. By choosing the stairs over the elevator or walking to the train instead of driving to work, you're literally steps closer to the 10,000-step goal recommended by health and fitness professionals. Tracking steps boosts your awareness about your habits and activity level, and when it comes to being active, knowledge is power. To learn more, check out our articles on pedometers. The Fitbit Zip, Yamax Power Walker and Striiv Play encompass blend accuracy and wearability with motivating factors to encourage you to wear the pedometer more often.
When you’re paying attention to how much you walk, you'll notice that you'll want to move more. Pedometers are great if you have a busy schedule and can't commit to fitness classes or a regular workout routine. Counting your steps can motivate you to beat your own score or compete with a friend. You can gauge how hard you work day to day from on steps and it's a great way to measure progress if you're an athlete already training.
Pedometers don't actually count steps; rather, they sense movement. This means it can be easy for a pedometer to over count non-steps. If you're looking to up your activity by meeting a specific step goal, the more accurate the pedometer, the better. However, if you're looking to wear a pedometer during your regular fitness routine to gauge the activity you're already aware of, comfort and design are the best qualities to look for. The Fitbit and Yamax series fit the bill for the best pedometers, while the Striiv Play takes the cake for its fun and motivating features.
Pedometers are most accurate when you wear them on your hip, so look for small pedometers that will sit comfortably on your belt loop or waistband. Wristband and bracelet pedometers are best if you want to monitor your activity constantly. These types of pedometers are best for running because they'll track the movement of your arms rather than the swing of your hips. Below are some other considerations that are useful when you’re shopping for a pedometer.
Tracking and Recording
Accuracy is the key to a good pedometer. The most feature-stuffed pedometers are useless if they don't accurately count your steps. Tri-axis accelerometers are the most accurate and most common sensors in higher-end pedometers, but many other devices use pendulums to sense back and forth movement of your stride.
Look for a pedometer with a high step count limit. Many reach up to 100,000 and have an automatic reset. For the most accurate counts, look for pedometers that require you to enter your weight and stride to customize your stats. It's common to see pedometers track more than steps. Many track distance and calories, while some smart pedometers will measure your sleep quality based on how often you wake up during the night and how long you slept.
Many smart pedometers have downloadable options to sync your step count and other stats to your computer or smartphone, so you don't have to manually record your numbers. iOS users will get the most out of pedometers with this features because most smart pedometers design apps only for iPhones and iPods. If you don't have a smartphone but still want to use a smart pedometer, look for features like USB dongles that let you sync your information to your laptop or PC.
Sometimes it's best to keep it simple. Cheaper pedometers won't sync to mobile devices, but they still have extra features like stop watches, speedometers and altimeters to count the stairs you’ve climbed. You may have to record your information manually, but many pedometers have memories that last up to a week so you can track your progress.
The best place to wear any pedometer, regardless of the type of sensor it uses, is on your hip. Tri-axis accelerometers and pendulum sensors both measure the back and forth movement of your legs as you walk, so belt loops and waistbands are best for any type of pedometer. Look for a pedometer that has a clip or leash to secure the device to your clothing.
Whether you're going to wear a pedometer daily for casual use or for exercise, look for something that's lightweight. You don't want a bulky device bouncing around on your person while you’re walking or running. If you don't like wearing a device on your hip, wristband pedometers are growing in popularity because of their fashionable look and near invisible feel.
Battery life is also crucial when you’re looking for a pedometer, assuming this is a device you'll use every day to record your entire day. Smart pedometers typically have a battery that last days, while more basic pedometers can last months on a single battery, and at their longest, up to a year.
Whether you're an avid runner or a casual walker, pedometers are the best way to count your steps and monitor your daily activity. By recording your numbers, you'll learn more about yourself and find ways to make small, positive choices that will improve your health.