The Versatile Pedometer - A Gadget for Calories, Work and Play

Updated on September 14, 2012

What does a Pedometer look like?

Being a postman, my husband's favorite gadget is his pedometer. You can imagine how happy he was to receive it from me as a present. It comes in handy when he needs to justify an unpaid increase in his postal route.

Living on a hilly terrain with many stone steps and winding roads, walking usually works out best. The pedometer is a great point of reference for anyone who is serious about knowing more about their rate of movement.

As it happens, I sometimes borrow it to clock my mileage when I go for a long walk across the island. I like to see how many kilometers I've racked up for my health and diet programs.

Fun Facts

Did you know....

• The average, active person takes 10,000 steps in a day
• Pedometers cost from \$7 to \$20
• There are new cellular phones (by Nokia and Samsung) that incorporate a pedometer into the phone itself.

Different Types of Pedometers

Pedometers are usually small, smaller than a package of cigarettes and larger than a book of matches. Some have a digital reading. Many are battery powered. Mine runs on the metal disk battery type that are often found in hand held calculators.

How Does it Work?

The pedometer asks a few questions of its wearer at the outset.

1. How long is your average stride? MOST people stretch their legs to about 70 cm. My husband's stride is a little bit longer, 80 cm, so we adjusted that in the parameters.
2. How many kilos do you have? Pounds is another option. In Europe we use kilos, so you put that number in. (The Pedometer will also calculate how many calories you have burned on your walk, which can also come in handy.)

Now fasten it onto your belt. Traditionally, they were worn on the shoe or ankle but now they can be fastened between the belt buckle and the side.

The Pedometer is sensitive to body movements and measures

• how many strides you have taken
• how many kilometers you have completed (miles is another option)
• how many calories have you burned

After standing in one spot for more than one minute, the intelligent gadget reverts to a snooze mode. To get it started up again, jiggle it a bit and it will wake up again.

You can continue accumulating data until you are reset the machine to zero again. Press and hold the reset button to calculate the details for a brand new day's of fresh information.

Children

The pedometer is easy to use, so that kids can use the pedometer without any problem. When tracking the distance to school or to after school activities (sports, dance class), they can wear the handy device. Taking the dog for a walk, parents can regulate if their kids went off the beaten path (like Little Red Riding Hood) by checking the mileage on the Pedometer. (You don't have to tell them that this is what you are using it for, however!).

Fitness On the Run

Being someone who easily gains weight, I like to see how far I have traveled and how many calories I have burned. It is refreshing to see the positive side of the coin, which, before the Pedometer, was just a vague concept. When you have the data right in front of you, it's encouraging to get actual feedback and gives motivation to keep on working towards a reasonable goal of maybe burning 200 - 500 calories in a day.

Positives and Negatives

There are a few imperfections to the pedometer. First, the information you receive won't necessarily be 100% accurate, but it is a good guide. Calculated by hip measurements, the side where the pedometer sits (left or right) will feel the most. Wearing it on the left side, for example, when I take a left step, I get a "double reading" which is 140 cms (my stride is 70 cms, unlike my husband's). BUT, whenever I climb up a staircase, I get a reading every step because of the extra jarring! It's more vigorous to climb stairs than to walk on a flat place, so I get "extra credit" on the stairs. There you have it.

Another thing to be aware of, these sensitive little electronic devices are NOT waterproof. Be sure to take them off and wrap them in a soft cloth if you end up getting caught in a downpour. Once they're wet, they're generally done for.