This is one of those “duh” stories.
In a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reviewed the results of 26 studies in which pedometers or step counters were used. They found that using step counters was strongly associated with increases in physical activity. That is, people who used step counters increased their activity by over 2,000 steps compared to their own baseline level or compared to people who did not wear a step counter. In addition, using step counters was associated with reductions in body mass index (BMI), an indicator of body fatness, and blood pressure.
It’s a “duh” story because if you move more, you burn more calories. You burn more calories, you reduce your weight. What is interesting is that this study showed that a relatively simple, inexpensive tool can help people move more — and weigh less.
We at The Cooper Institute have known about the value of step counters for a long time. Over 15 years ago, we conducted one of the first studies in which step counters were used to help people set goals and track their physical activity. We have since used step counters in many other studies and educational programs. Still, it is good to have a definitive paper in a prestigious journal that goes to thousands of physicians and other health professionals. We hope that more clinicians will recommend step counters to their patients.
If you don’t have a step counter, get one. If you do have one, here are ways to have fun with it.
Fun with Step Counters
Step Around Your Block
Take a Cue for Physical Activity
One Step Counter, Two Friends
Have you ever used a step counter? If so, how did it help you?