How exactly does my pedometer work, and is it really accurate?
By Jennifer Viegas for Live Right Live Well
Pedometers measure how much walking you do, based on the number of
steps you take. They work by measuring the up-and-down movement of your
hips as you walk. The quality and price of pedometers varies widely, as
does their accuracy, according to Stacy Clemes, Ph.D., lecturer in
ergonomics at Loughborough University in England, who recently
conducted a study on the devices.
To find out how your pedometer rates, Clemes recommends the 50-step
test. "For this test, you simply wear the pedometer, ensure that it is
showing zero steps and then walk 50 paces at your usual walking speed,"
she instructs. "The pedometer should ideally be accurate to within 3
percent of actual steps taken." In other words, after taking 50 steps,
your pedometer should read no less than 48 steps and no more than 52.
For the most accurate readings, Clemes
recommends wearing your pedometer on your waistband or belt, "in line with
the midline of the thigh." It also helps to walk at a brisk pace, generally
above 2.5 to 3 mph, since pedometers are less accurate at slower speeds.
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