Pedometers (cont.)

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How do I know if my pedometer is accurate?

Set your pedometer to zero, and then walk and count off 100 steps to determine if your pedometer is accurate. Remember that it's accurate if the error is within 10% of your count (90-110 steps if you walk 100 steps). Move the pedometer forward or backward on your waist or even switch sides and walk another 100 steps if the error is more than 10%. Repeat these trials until you find the right position. Call the manufacturer or return the pedometer if you can't get accurate readings after repeated attempts.

How do I go about getting started with my first pedometer?

I recommend wearing your pedometer from the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you go to sleep at night for one to two weeks, record the steps, and then calculate your average daily steps. Once you know your average, you can make efforts to increase your average daily count by 250-500 each week until you reach an average of 10,000 steps per day.

How far am I walking? How many steps are there in a mile?

Figure 1,900-2,600 steps per mile depending on your stride length. Stride length is dependent on (1) your leg length, and (2) how fast you're moving. It's longer when you jog or run, compared with walking, which means your step count will be different for the same distance depending on your mode of activity. For example, it could take 2,400 steps to walk a mile and 2,100 steps to jog it. Power- and speed-walkers take smaller, more rapid steps to go faster, and so they will take more steps in a mile than when walking slower. Likewise, you will take more steps walking uphill than when walking on flat ground and so you need to consider that when assessing your activity level with a pedometer. Set your pedometer to zero and walk, jog, or run a measured mile, or half a mile and multiply by two, to determine how many steps you take per mile for each mode of activity that you're interested in.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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