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man wearing pedometerA pedometer is a small, lightweight step counter that helps you keep track of how active you are. Seeing how many steps you're taking and how much that increases over time can help keep you motivated.

Pedometers work by recording the number of times your hips move up and down. Some keep track of the distance you walk or the Calories you burn. Pedometers don't measure how much effort you're putting into an activity or how long you're active. They may not be completely accurate if you do a lot of bending or jumping. Most pedometers are inexpensive ($15-$30), but some are less precise than others, and some can be quite expensive.

How do I use a pedometer?

A pedometer is easy to use. Many only have one button: the reset button. Wear your pedometer on your waistband, at your hip bone. To get a correct reading, it should be upright and not tilting forward or backward.

To test if your pedometer is accurate, put it on and press reset. Take 20 quick steps, counting them yourself. If the pedometer doesn't show between 19 and 21 steps, try putting it in a different place along your waist near your hip. Find the place on your waist that works best for you.

How many steps should I take each day?

Wear your pedometer all day, so it records all your activity. If you take a 30 minute walk and combine that with all your other day-to-day activities, the total number of steps should be at least 3,000-4,000 per day. If you're under that, try increasing your daily total by 500 steps one week. Then increase your daily total by another 500 steps the next week. Once you reach 3,000-4,000 steps, keep going until you gradually reach 10,000 steps per day.


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