A pedometer can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Walking is an effective form of aerobic exercise, but how do you know if you're walking enough? A pedometer can estimate the number of steps you take each day and help motivate you achieve the CDC's recommendation of 10,000 steps daily. Traditional pedometers are typically worn on the waistband and, when worn at the ankle, yield inaccurate results. Advanced pedometers with new, integrated technology, however, can be worn on the ankle, arm or wrist.
For an accurate reading, avoid wearing a traditional pedometer on your ankle.
Take the Accuracy Test
When considering which pedometer to purchase, prioritize its accuracy in counting steps. To measure the pedometer's accuracy, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends the 20-step test. Clip the pedometer onto your waistband or belt - if you are wearing one - in line with your knee. Take 20 steps at your normal pace and check to see if the pedometer calculated between 18 to 22 steps. This is considered fairly accurate. If the pedometer fails to meet the criteria, try it once more. Choose another pedometer if it doesn't pass the accuracy test a second or third time.
Compare Waist Versus Ankle
Pedometers are typically positioned at the waist because it is near the center of the body. At the ankle, the pedometer receives too much shock from each foot strike. This makes the pedometer more sensitive, which can give inaccurate readings. For example, it may detect fidgeting, leg swinging and heel tapping as steps. This can lead to the pedometer reading an exaggerated number of steps when compared to waist-positioned pedometers. A study published in a 2005 issue of the вЂњEuropean Journal of Applied PhysiologyвЂќ suggests that ankle-positioned pedometers are only more accurate when walking at a slow pace.
Investigate Advanced Pedometers
Accelerometer-based pedometers can be worn at the ankle, wrist or arm to accurately measure your steps. Traditional pedometers only have a mechanical sensor to measure steps while an accelerometer is a micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) device. This allows accelerometer-based pedometers to measure how fast you are walking or running and calculate your steps and the distance traveled. Several smart phones have accelerometers installed, which allow you to track your steps with fitness apps. Ankle or wrist-worn bands are used to track your steps and the data is then uploaded to your smart phone or computer.
Choose the Right Device
For the best results, choose a 3-axis accelerometer to accurately detect your motion. Some of these devices can be strapped around the ankle to track your movement, as well as estimate your calorie expenditure. Accelerometer-based pedometers go by several names; look out for products labeled fitness trackers, 3-axis pedometers or accelerometers. Remember to perform the 20-step test before deciding which pedometer to purchase.