By Rehan Iqbal
In this article, we’ll be talking about pedometers and how they help people reach their fitness goals.
What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a simple electronic device that tracks the number of steps that the wearer takes. They’re lightweight, portable and, in recent years, have become more accurate in their tracking.
Most pedometers advise that you wear them on the waist because it can most reliably track your movement. You can, in fact, wear your pedometer on your wrist, your ankle or even in your pocket, although they might not be quite as accurate. The important thing is to be consistent and wear it in the same place so that your results aren’t skewed.
How Does a Pedometer Work?
Traditional pedometers contain a small lever that rocks back and forth as you move to count each step you take. In this modern age, that might seem old-fashioned but these mechanical pedometers are surprisingly accurate. Many pedometers also use this data to estimate how many calories you’ve burnt through walking or running.
Alternatively, digital step counters, like the one you find in most smartphones, use a built-in accelerometer.
An accelerometer measures the speed and distance at which your phone moves, even while it’s not in use. Then, built-in software uses these measurements to estimate the number of steps you’ve taken.
Getting Those Steps in - The Benefits of Walking More
So, we know what a pedometer is, and how it works but how can just walking or running help you reach your fitness goals?
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
As we get older, our risk of developing a chronic illness like heart disease starts to increase. This is due to the body aging and suffering the effects of all the strain that’s been put on it over the years.
Well, did you know that 30 minutes of walking per day can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 19%?
Using a Pedometer for Weight Loss
I’ve always thought that the idea of “weight loss” is too general and that everybody is different and should be treated as such.
Having said that, if your goal is to reduce your body fat, improve mobility and increase your fitness, walking or running are 2 of the best and simplest forms of exercise.
Walking, in particular, is a great way to begin a fat loss journey since it’s low impact (doesn’t affect your joints as much as running) and is often a more sustainable exercise option (more on that in a moment).
The best part is that you don’t necessarily need to set time aside for “exercise”. Just changing part of your daily routine like walking to work or the shops instead of driving can have a huge impact if you don’t already exercise a lot.
And the best way to track the extra steps you’re getting in? You guessed it, a pedometer.
A Pedometer Could be More Sustainable Than More Intense Workout Routines
One of the biggest hurdles you face when starting out on your fitness journey begins in the mind.
One of the reasons that many people give up on exercise is because of the time it takes to see the results. Especially in this day and age where we’re so used to instant gratification through social media etc.
So, maybe you’ve started out with the best intentions to get fit, hit the gym a few times, or start working out at home. Then, a few weeks in, your motivation slips, you’re not seeing the results you maybe expected, and it’s getting easier and easier to say “I’ve had a long day at work, I’ll just go tomorrow”
Well, you’ve already heard how beneficial walking can be for your health but the best part is how easy it is.
Walking has been proven to be a much more sustainable exercise, especially if you’re a beginner or require more gentle exercise for health reasons.
What’s the Difference Between a Pedometer and a Fitness Tracker
Now we’ve spoken about how a pedometer could help you reach your fitness goals, it’s important to talk about the difference between a pedometer and a fitness tracker.
Since Fitbit came to market, fitness trackers have been rapidly growing in popularity. At this point, most smartwatches include fitness tracking capabilities that go beyond just counting your steps.
What Do Fitness Trackers Actually Track
As you know, a pedometer is used to track just your steps. Fitness trackers, on the other hand, can measure a whole host of different activities including:
Now, not all fitness trackers were created equal and some (especially older ones) might not include all of the measurements above.
However, this extra information can be helpful depending on what your goals are.
Which is Better, Pedometer or Fitness Tracker?
You’re probably thinking about whether a fitness tracker or pedometer is better for you.
So let’s look at some comparisons.
As you can imagine, fitness trackers can be considerably more expensive than pedometers. The technology is much more modern in a fitness trackers and they’re becoming extremely popular so you pay extra for that.
Not only that, since they’re worn on the wrist, many fitness trackers have the extra challenge of trying to be stylish (if that’s what you care for).
Depending on the quality of technology and materials as well as the brand of your fitness tracker, prices can start from as little as £40. More sophisticated fitness trackers could cost you anywhere up to £500 though!
Ultimately, this all comes down to your goals and how you want to exercise.
If you like to run and walk more than anything else, using a pedometer will be more accurate and suitable for you than a fitness tracker.
If, on the other hand, you prefer strength training, cycling or even swimming, a fitness tracker will be able to give you more data to help you reach your goals.
Your Job Could Matter
Whether your job is active and involves a lot of walking, or whether it’s more sedentary and you’re mostly sat could determine whether a pedometer or fitness tracker is the right choice to help you meet your fitness goals.
Many fitness trackers come with built in displays that help you to manage whether you’re moving enough throughout the day. If you have a less active job this could help you to spot days where you’re less active and give you a prompt to exercise.
On the other hand, if you’re already on your feet and moving a lot, a pedometer will help you to track your steps at work that you might not be counting towards your exercise for the day or week.
Hopefully now you know a lot more about pedometers, and fitness trackers and how they can help you to reach your fitness goals.
It’s an individual experience and everyone’s goals and preferences will be different, but with some of the information in this article you should be closer to making the right decision for you.