How Pedometers Work

Pedometers record your steps.

Learning how pedometers work provides a great tool for achieving fitness goals. A pedometer records the number of steps taken, and it's an essential part of the 10,000 steps program for fitness.

Get Fit: How Pedometers Work

Essentially, a pedometer records the steps you walk. Inside the pedometer is a device or arm set on a spring. That spring moves up and down as you stride by measuring the up and down motion of your hips. The device is motion sensitive and activates when you're in motion. Designed specifically for vigorous walking, pedometers come in all shapes, sizes and sensitivities.

Pedometers are goal-oriented devices that act as both a means for measurement and incentive to improve the number of steps you take each day. The fitness industry has seen a virtual explosion in the number of devices available in the modern market. Some advanced pedometers work to convert steps into physical distances (miles or kilometers); track heart rate; calculate calories burned as well as telling time. Some versions also come as a part of an MP3 player which provides entertainment while walking.

A variety of basic to modified pedometers are available, including:

Each of these pedometers offers a different type of functionality from the basic spring to the more complex. Don't judge a pedometer by its price tag. Just because a pedometer advertises a lot of bells and whistles does not mean it is the ideal pedometer for you.

Wear it Correctly: How Pedometers Work

Pedometers are effective only if they are used correctly. Most pedometers must be worn so that they sit straight and vertical. It's ideal to wear a standard pedometer clipped onto your belt. Your waist band is a second choice, but it can interfere with how the pedometer works if it is too tight against the curve of your waist or stomach.

Tucking the pedometer into your purse, your backpack or your pocket is not ideal. In most cases, it will interfere with the functionality. If you hold the pedometer and shake it and it counts steps, then you can be sure that it is sensitive to motion, your belt is the most secure place to get an accurate recording of your steps because it will reduce idle jostling that can throw off the count of your steps.

If you purchase a pedometer that is a part of an MP3 player or cell phone, you will still need to attach the item to your body somewhere. You may also need to buy items like shoe sensors that transmit data to your cell phone or player. These items remain untested for long-term use and accuracy.

Use Your Pedometer Effectively

Pedometers are great tools, but they are just that, a tool. They can help you measure where you are on the path to your goals whether it's 10000 steps or just 500 extra steps. They can motivate you to push further and longer, but they only work if you do the walking. So invest in a pedometer, if it's the right choice for you.

How Pedometers Work