Simple gadget encourages an active lifestyle

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 18th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s an inexpensive, lightweight, easy-to-use gadget that hitches a ride on your belt-loop and helps you walk your way to an active lifestyle. The simple pedometer has long been the fanatic walker’s friend, but now there is research to back up its effectiveness as an exercise motivator.

Walking is an easy and extremely effective form of exercise. No special equipment is needed, and you don’t have to pay anyone to show you how to do it. Plus it provides all the health benefits of any other workout, at a low-impact rate.

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends that adults walk ten-thousand steps a day. But many Americans fall far short of that goal. The average person without a daily exercise regimen takes only about five-thousand steps per day.

A team of researchers at Stanford University analyzed twenty-six different studies that looked at pedometer use and health outcomes. The results were crystal clear. Across the board, pedometer users with a daily step goal walked almost twenty-five-hundred more steps a day than those without a pedometer. This represented a twenty-five percent increase in daily activity and resulted in significant decreases in body mass index and systolic blood pressure.

When coupled with a daily step goal, pedometers are great motivators to pound the pavement. And that’s a step in the right direction in a world where computers, video games and remote controls all too often encourage a sedentary lifestyle.