Pedometers spur physical activity

The pedometer, a simple and inexpensive step-counting device, significantly increases daily activity levels and even promotes weight loss, according to a recent study directed by Dena Bravata, a senior research scientist at Stanford’s School of Medicine.

Bravata and her team of researchers analyzed study results from 2,767 people, mostly overweight and inactive women, who agreed to keep records of their physical activity while using a pedometer over an 18-week period. On average, the study found that the participants using pedometers increased their daily activity by 2,183 steps.

“Just over 2,100 steps might not sound like that much, but it equates to a 27 percent increase in physical activity — which is really astounding,” said Bravata in a Nov. 20 School of Medicine news release.

Bravata also observed that most participants experienced a drop in systolic blood pressure and a slightly lower body mass index (BMI) after using a pedometer for the duration of the study.

Though the study did not formally analyze why a pedometer might motivate people to increase their daily activity levels, Crystal Smith-Spangler, one of the members of the research team at Stanford, had a few suggestions.

More on pedometers and motivation......

Peaceful Playgrounds Inc found that children were also motivated to move by pedometers. In a 16 week pedometer program called "We Count" students increased their steps by 40%.The We Count Program received a Promising Practices Award from the Promising Practices Afterschool Association.

More on the children's pedometer research from Peaceful Playgrounds.......