Using a Pedometer

Helping Patients Achieve Their Goals

Daily (all day) use of a pedometer or step counter is a key part of the SMARTER strategy. In this video we explain its proper setup and use.

Pedometer tips

  • Clip to your waistline.
  • Attach security strap
  • Initially, place in line with kneecap
  • Keep it vertical as much as possible
  • Set the counter to zero and count out at least ten normal steps. The reading should be within one step of your count. If not reposition it and try again. With some people it works better on the hip.

Setting a baseline
Wear the pedometer for at least three “normal” days and take the average. This will be the baseline that patient and physician will use to set step count objectives.

Other tips

  • A better quality device will be more accurate than a cheap “giveaway” one.
  • It should have a cover so you don’t accidentally hit the reset button
  • Wear it all day: from when you get dressed until you go to bed at night.

What about slow walkers?
Ideally step counters work best when you “walk like you have somewhere to go”. If you have a slow shuffling gait they might not work properly. That’s one reason for the calibration. If this is the case talk to you doctor about other options but walking about 20 minutes extra per day would be a good start.

What about my smartphone or wrist-worn device?
Smartphone apps and wrist-worn were not directly investigated in this study. However device worn on the wrist will pick up extra readings and may not be as accurate as a waist-worn pedometer.  However in a pinch they are better than nothing!

Does other exercise count?
Part of the idea of prescribing steps it keep it simple but of course all activity is good!

One minute of cycling (leisurely) equals about: 

Ice skating: 

Swimming (leisurely) : 

116 steps

174 steps

203 steps

More Step Equivalents

Pedometer tips

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