Pedometers are compact high-tech devices that measure the number of steps a person takes while walking or running.
People use them to monitor their workouts, measure how far they are running and to get a real-world idea of their daily activity levels.
Today’s best pedometers are much more accurate than their predecessors of just a few years ago, while also being more durable and compact.
Below, our health and wellness experts have compiled their list of the major benefits of using pedometers.
9 Benefits Of Pedometers
Pedometers provide a simple and reasonably accurate way to measure your activity levels on a given day. The following is a full account of the major benefits of using pedometers.
1: Pedometers can help you get and stay healthy.
This is why people buy a pedometer, so it had better fulfill its purpose. Whether you work at a computer station all day, or you’re retired and don’t exactly have an active lifestyle, the simple act of walking can make a world of difference healthwise (1). But keeping track of how much you actually walk can be a challenge. Unless, of course, you have access to a circuit that you know to be a certain distance. But who has that? This is where pedometers come in. With a pedometer, you don’t have to try and determine distance. All you have to do is let the device count the steps you’re taking. It makes walking a healthy amount as easy as pie.
2: Pedometers let you set health and wellness goals.
Psychologists have long known that setting goals can be crucial to obtaining a successful outcome (2). That is particularly true when it comes to fitness and overall wellbeing. A pedometer can help you set and meet goals, which will help you keep your one-and-only body in good working order. When it comes to walking, the most commonly mentioned goal is 10,000 steps per day. That sounds like a lot. And if you typically only move from the bedroom to the sofa to the bathroom to the sofa and then back to the bedroom, it is. But if you live a more average life chances are you already take nearly 5,000 steps per day (3). So ramping that up to 10,000 isn’t really such a stretch.
3: Pedometers are a lot cheaper than joining a health club.
Health clubs today are not cheap (4). Nor are they particularly welcoming to older folks. Most of the organized activities are geared toward 20 and 30-somethings with boundless energy. Not 50 or 60-somethings who haven’t worked out since Clinton was president. Even for those highly energized young adults though, the health club atmosphere often leaves a lot to be desired. Which is why a majority of members don’t ever show up (5). A pedometer can help you get into shape for just a fraction of what a months’ membership at the gym would cost.
4: Pedometers can help you meet your weight loss goals.
To achieve weight loss goals, you need to do more than simply change what and how much you eat. You also have to build new habits related to exercise and be more active in general. That’s also the only way you stand a real chance of keeping the weight off once you lose it (6). A pedometer can help you get into the habit of exercising and so help you meet your weight loss goals. And this is true whether you’re 22 or 72.
5: Pedometers help promote sociability.
While socializing is important for people of every age, it’s particularly important for older folks. As people age, friends and loved ones die, and others simply drift away and are never heard from again. The isolation and loneliness that often results is a danger to a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing (7)(8). While the humble pedometer won’t bring back lost friends, it can help a person make new ones. Just being out and about getting in your steps will help re-establish a connection to the larger world. Also, some pedometers (especially those integrated into fitness trackers) enable the user to connect with an online community of like-minded people. Meetups can be arranged, group walks, and more.
6: A pedometer can track other types of activity as well.
Many fitness trackers come with pedometers built-in. If you have one of these devices, you are likely also able to track 8 or 10 or 12 or even more other activities besides just steps. Even simply pedometers that don’t sync with your smartphone or offer access to 100 different fitness apps will also measure things like distance walked, calories burned, and elapsed time. All this information can help you devise more effective workouts.
7: Pedometers can provide motivation to get active.
The obesity epidemic (9) that has gripped much of the developed world is as much an epidemic of inactivity (10). As people spend more and more time sitting in front of computer screens, they simply don’t burn off the calories they consume the way previous generations did. A pedometer can provide the motivation a person needs to get up and go for a walk or a run. And this can help fend off an array of problems created by inactivity, including type II diabetes and heart disease.
8: Pedometer provide a real-world picture of your activity.
It’s human nature to overestimate how active we are or how hard we’re working. For instance, it’s common for people to say that during a hiking trip, they carried a 100-pound backpack. With all due respect, no one carries 100-pound backpacks. Most people, in fact, would have difficulty carrying 25 or 30 pounds all day. It’s often the same with walking. People think they’re walking a lot more than they actually are and then wonder why they’re not meeting their fitness goals. A pedometer can inject a much-needed dose of reality into a person’s fitness routine that will help them obtain better results.
9: Pedometers are light and compact and can be worn by anyone.
Pedometers are so light and small that anyone of any age can comfortably wear them. Most weigh only a few ounces and can either be slung around the neck or simply clipped to a pocket or belt. This lightweight versatility makes them an outstanding fitness aid for older folks.
Pedometers are a convenient, affordable way to keep track of your physical activity. They can provide you with an alternative to the health club atmosphere, enable you to keep accurate track of your activity levels, give you a better chance of obtaining your health and wellness goals and be an invaluable tool in your quest to maintain a healthy weight.