What Is a Pedometer?

What Is a Pedometer?

A pedometer is an electronic device which keeps track of how many steps a person has walked, jogged, or ran. More expensive pedometers calculates the approximate number of calories you’ve burned, the distance in kilometers or miles you’ve traveled, and the amount of time you’ve been walking.

Is a Pedometer Accurate?

There’s some debate about the degree of accuracy electronic step-counting devices have, so the key word in my description above is “approximate”. A pedometer gives you a pretty good idea of how far you’re traveled, how many calories you burn while you exercise, and the number of steps you’ve taken. The last calculation is most accurate, because that’s what the pedometer is counting.

What Is a Pedometer? How Does a Pedometer Work?

You have to ask yourself whether a pedometer is more accurate than you would be counting out steps yourself (the answer is “yes”). Since many exercise and fitness regimens require a certain level of activity to succeed, you need a relatively accurate means of counting your rate of exercise. Since the recommended amount of steps in a day is between 6,000 and 10,000 steps, there’s no way most people can maintain concentration throughout a workout to track their steps themselves.

So the answer is that a pedometer is probably not totally accurate, but it’s the most accurate way you can track your cardio exercises. The number of steps counted is going to be pretty close (if you use the device properly), while it’s conversion to statistics like calories burned, kilometers traveled, or miles traveled is going to be less accurate. I hate to put it this way, but the more you spend on your pedometer, the more refinement there’s likely to be in the design, and the more accurate your device is likely to be.

How Does a Pedometer Work?

When you wear the pedometer and you walk, run, or jog, the device measures the amount of vibrations in your gait. The electronic step calculator is set to record a certain amount of vibration as one human step, which is how it counts. If you were to stand still and shake a pedometer, it would count your movements.

Proper use of your exercise counter is important when using one of these devices. The recommended use is to clip the pedometer in an upright position onto your belt. Some joggers place their pedometers in their pocket or their backpack as a more convenient way of tracking their progress, but pedometers are going to calculate your shakes and vibrations differently in these positions, and be less accurate.

Testing Pedometer Accuracy

If you want to test out the accuracy of a pedometer carried in a backpack or pocket, get your exercise on the same track or path and use the pedometer first on you belt, and then either in your pocket or backpack. Note the difference in the two measurements, assume the belt measurement is more accurate, and calculate how much the pedometer varies in its calculates. You’ll get a good idea how far off the count is, and whether that amount of accuracy warrants keeping your counting device in the recommended position.

Pedometers in Electronic Devices

As time goes by, the reliability of pedometers is going to increase. Also, you’ll probably have a built-in pedometer on many of your standard electronic devices, like mp3 players (often used during exercise) and cell phones. In fact, there are mobile phones and music file devices on the market which already contain a pedometer.

At the moment, the pedometers on these devices have a reputation for being somewhat less reliable than a pedometer bought specifically for that purpose, but once again, improvements are being made all the time. It won’t be too many years before pedometers have almost total accuracy.

Should I Get a Pedometer?

I suggest anyone serious about fitness who does significant walking, running, or jogging should use a pedometer. This gives you a good idea how much work you’re doing and how many calories you’re burning.

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