The Considerable Health Benefits of a Pedometer

Did you know you can buy a little device that will help you lose weight? More than just a step-counting gimmick, a pedometer offers considerable health benefits.

What is a pedometer?

The pedometer is a small device that, when attached to your waistband, senses your body motion and counts the number of footsteps you take. The step count is then converted into an approximate distance after judging the usual length of your stride.

When programmed properly to match your stride and when worn correctly, any decent pedometer should be accurate in its count if you experiment with where to place it on your body for optimal results.

You can choose from a variety of simple step-counting pedometers. Techies can step up to multifunction models that not only count steps but also include calorie estimates, clocks, timers, speed estimators, stopwatches, pulse rate readers and even a seven-day memory feature.

Health benefits

Any device that encourages people to get off the sofa and move around delivers instant health benefits. Something about the way a pedometer keeps track of the distance being walked fascinates and encourages people to keep moving.

"The use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure," according to a scientific study published in the November 2007 Journal of the American Medical Association.

The question is whether these changes continue over the long term. So other researchers looked into a database of published scientific studies dealing with the use of pedometers. Any study that used pedometers by participants suffering from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol was evaluated. In all, 26 studies that met their criteria.

The researchers learned that those who used a pedometer for an average of 18 weeks increased their daily number of steps by more than 2,000, based on their steps at the start of the program or when evaluated against non-pedometer control groups. This increase in daily steps meant an increased physical activity level of 26.9 percent. As a result, pedometer users reduced their cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

No conflicting data refutes the health benefits of walking; therefore, a pedometer can become a motivational tool. In addition to improving cholesterol and blood pressure, by adding more steps every day to your routine, the considerable health benefits of a pedometer include losing weight, improving overall fitness and strengthening your heart.

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A pedometer's basic function is to track the number of steps you take in a day, but it can also track your distance over time and estimate the calories you burn.

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