Pedometer power, you still need a goal

Many steps through the windmills in Holland


If you read my post below you know I’m big on walking and that I think using a pedometer is a tremendous motivational tool. While we know the obvious, walking is healthy, you’d naturally think having a tool that marks your steps would be motivational. However, I just learned, that’s not entirely true. The real motivation comes from having a “step-goal” – deciding how many steps you will walk.

In 26 studies (eight randomized controlled trials and 18 observational studies) conducted by Dena M. Bravata, M.D., M.S., of Stanford University, Calif. and colleagues, among 2,767 participants, pedometer users logged between 2,183 and 2,491 steps per day more than control participants. Whew! I got that right. Overall, pedometer users increased their physical activity by 26.9%. However, and here’s the news, having a step-goal was identified as the predictor for increased physical activity. In the three studies that did not include a step-goal, participants had no significant improvement in physical activity — even with their pedometer! The participants who were clocking in 2,000 steps more per day had a 10,000-step-per-day goal, or other goal.*

Who woulda thought? So, in light of this information, decide how many steps you want to cover today and then strap on that pedometer. One note of caution: If you’ve been laying about the house lately don’t pick 10,000 steps as your goal today. Shoot for 2,000 and up it every few days. Keep it up and by New Year’s Eve, you may just be a 10,000 a day stepper – and yes jitterbugging, walking down the aisle and strolling through windmills count too!

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