How to use your pedometer

A pedometer is a small device the same size as a pager. You wear it at the waist and it counts the number of steps made according to the movements of your body. Some pedometers are analog devices that measure only the number of steps taken. Some other more sophisticated digital models measure the distance traveled and also tell you how many calories you have burned. Keep in mind, however, that the devices that count calories are usually not very accurate even though they are more expensive. All you need is a simple device that counts your step count, so you can assess if you are walking at least 10,000 steps a day.

People who love gadgets will surely love pedometers. It’s also a great way to make life easier for those who can not find a 30-minute or even a 10-minute period during the day to walk. Be sure to attach your pedometer by passing a cord through the clip and then around your waistband to make sure you do not drop it, which could damage it.

How many steps should I take in a day?

For your long-term health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases:
Make 10,000 steps a day
To successfully maintain a healthy weight:
Doing between 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day
To increase your aerobic capacity:
Do 3,000 steps (or more) daily at a fast pace

How far have I traveled?

If in addition to the number of steps you have done you also want to know the distance you have traveled, you can calibrate your pedometer. The easiest way is to carry it over a known distance (ie once around the track) by walking with a normal pace. You then take the number of steps you have covered, you multiply it by 2.5 and you will obtain the number of steps per kilometer. If you want to get an even more accurate account you should walk a full kilometer, or 2 and a half times around the track. When you want to evaluate the distance you have just traveled, divide the number of steps by the result of your calibration of the “number of steps per kilometer”. Remember that this is only approximate since the distance traveled increases when you walk faster. If you walk faster you will therefore underestimate the distance traveled and if you walk more slowly the distance will be greater than your calculation indicates.

In some models, you can insert the length of your stride (based on your calibration) and the pedometer will automatically calculate the distance traveled. Some other more sophisticated pedometer models will even calculate approximately the number of calories you have burned, if you have previously indicated your weight. Do not rely entirely on these estimates because they are not very accurate as they do not take into account the physical condition and physiology of the person.


Claudette wears her pedometer to walk around the school track – which is 400 meters – and she walks 800 steps. If she multiplies this figure by 2.5, she calculates that she is about 2,000 steps per kilometer. During another walk, she made 6,685 steps. Dividing this number by 2,000 gives it 3.34 or a distance of about 3 1/3 kilometers. (* Please note that indoor athletics tracks and many outdoor tracks, especially those in high schools, are only 200 meters in length, so you should not adjust your calculation accordingly).

If you want to calculate the length of each of your steps, you must divide the distance in meters that you know to have traveled by the number of steps you have made. If Claudette divides her 800 steps by 400 meters she gets the length of her steps which is 0.5 meters. She can now introduce this measurement into her pedometer.

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