Using A Pedometer & Getting the Most Out of It

A pedometer measures the number of steps you take while you are walking. You can use it to get an idea of how far you walk during your daily activities and as a way to measure your success if you’re trying to walk more.

Setting Up Your Pedometer

Most pedometers allow you to calibrate them for greater accuracy in measuring distance walked. In order to do this, you need to measure your average step length. Even if your pedometer doesn’t measure distance, you may want to do this just to get an idea of how your steps translate into miles. Here are some of the ways you can do that:

  • Walk a known distance and count your steps - The distance can be as little as 20 feet. A longer distance will give you a more accurate measurement, because your step length will vary.
  • The Wet Foot Walk - Create a puddle of water on a dry sidewalk. Start walking at a normal pace before you reach the puddle. Walk through it and continue for about ten steps. Measure the distance from the heel of your left footprint to the heel of your right footprint on several of your footprints and average them.
  • Google Pedometer - Use the online Google pedometer at You can use the map to record where you started walking and where you stopped. The Google pedometer will measure the distance for you. Compare this to your pedometer reading. You can also use the Google pedometer to plan and map out future walks.

Getting Started

  • Start out by wearing the pedometer every day for a week and doing what you normally do. Don’t try to increase the number of steps at this point. Keep track of your daily step readings and your weekly total. This will provide you with a baseline.
  • Now you can set a goal for the second week. You may want to start by trying to increase your steps by 5% over your baseline week or adding 300 steps.
  • Set a weekly goal. You may want to keep the same goal for several weeks. Do what feels comfortable to you.
  • At whatever pace is comfortable, try to work up to a goal of 10,000 steps per day.

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