With the advent of technology, many devices have been created to help people reach their fitness goals. One among them is a pedometer, which has become an integral part of various workout regimes.
A pedometer is a device that tracks your leg and hip motion to count the number of steps you take while walking or running. It is generally worn on wrists like a watch but can also be strapped to other body parts.
Pedometer itself is an old technology, having first been patented in 1924. But with time, it has evolved digitally, integrating features to give more insights into your body while working out.
In a strict sense, a pedometer only records the number of steps. However, its technology is used to develop more modern fitness trackers, so we might as well the latter digital pedometers.
While the features largely depend on the model, here are some common things the gadget can do:
Different people cover different distances while walking the same number of steps. The device can show actual distance traveled in kilometers or miles and record the time required to do so.
A digital pedometer can help you monitor breathing. The information may consist of things like how many times you breathe during a minute and how much air you inhale while breathing.
Also known as heart rate, pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats during a minute. Counting and monitoring this rate is one of the most important features available in almost every fitness tracker.
More advanced devices can allow you to know the number of calories you’ve burnt during a workout. However, this metric can have more margin of error, since the calorie count largely depends on the body’s anatomy, which is different for every person.
A fitness tracker can review sleep time, quality, and different stages of sleep. Furthermore, You can integrate some devices with smartphone apps to know what happened during sleep. For example, you may have sleep talked at 1 A.M.
Silent Alarm and Reminders
Many devices allow you to set reminders for workouts and send you a ‘silent alarm’ by vibrating on your wrist. These alarms are powerful enough to even wake you up from sleep, even if they are subtle.
Some pedometers can create and store fitness logs for different periods to allow you to review the data at different times. Furthermore, they can come with an exercise recognition feature, automatically updating the information for different exercises in your app without you having to specify what you are doing manually.
How Can a Pedometer Take You to Your Fitness Goals
Here are some ways a pedometer helps you become more fit:
Helps to Lose Weight
Walking in itself is a very effective exercise for weight loss and management. Study shows that walking 10,000 steps a day will result in enhanced weight loss, and a pedometer helps you ensure you reach that. In addition, the other features like heart rate, breathing rate, etc., help make your weight management exercises more effective.
Keeps Diseases in Check
A pedometer can help to keep you physically active, decreasing your possibility of having diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, coronary heart disease, etc. Moreover, it lets you know if some of your organs are behaving abnormally. For example, say that you have been experiencing more pulse rate than usual. Thus, you can reach out for medical support fast.
Tells You What You’ve Been Eating
Healthy eating is essential for achieving any fitness goal. A digital pedometer helps you get insights like the number of calories you have and the calories burnt during a workout. In addition, you can get specialised diet recommendations by connecting your digital device to various fitness-based smartphone apps.
Promotes Self-Discipline and Gives a Sense of Support
Research shows that having a fitness device makes patients more aware and wary about the benefits of walking. Furthermore, features such as voice assistance provide you with a sense of being supported and observed, which gives you another reason to keep plugging in and getting your dream body.
Set and Achieve Daily Targets
As you set short-term goals, you can break down your overall aim into bits and progress gradually. With a fitness tracker, you will get accurate information about your progress. You will also know how much effort you need to put in to get better results than the previous day.
Enables Better Sleep
Sleep is essential for fitness. Not only does it provide rest to your body, but it also helps to develop muscles and make your body functions stable. With a pedometer, you will get a good idea of how much you are sleeping and normally at what time you sleep the best. Hence, you’ll be able to create better sleep schedules.
Gives More Motivation
Various fitness trackers allow you to save and share your progress with others. A study has shown that having social support makes you exercise more and better. Furthermore, some devices can show congratulatory messages and colorful graphs and charts when you finish your workout. This provides you with the extra psychological boost to pursue your goals.
Is a Pedometer Safe?
Yes, it is. A fitness tracker in itself doesn’t have any negative side effects, but there can be some risks depending on how you use it.
Various health professionals have been complaining about how people are increasingly becoming obsessed with the data and the metrics. In a study of fitness tracker owners, 79% of the participants reported they feel pressurized to reach their daily targets. Similarly, 59% said that their daily lives decisions have been affected by wearing the device.
There are also some privacy issues. Some people may not be comfortable with sharing every aspect of their body’s data with fitness apps.
All we can say is a fitness tracker is a great gadget. The only thing you need to ensure is that you don’t push yourself.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Here are the things you should consider before buying a pedometer:
How You’ll Use it
Different fitness devices have been designed and optimized for different usages. Even within the same brand, there are different models for walking, running, cycling, swimming, and other exercises. Hence, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what you’ll be doing the most when you wear the gadget.
The Placement of the Device
While wrist pedometers are more popular than others, you can also find ones that you can wear on your waist, thigh, ankle, and foot. The placement of the device affects not only your comfort but also the things it is good at. For example, a waist pedometer allows you to more accurately track how your exercises have been helping to reduce your abdominal fat. In contrast, a wrist pedometer can offer better insights during swimming.
Integration with Apps
Many smartphone companies such as Samsung, Apple, etc., design their own digital fitness devices to work seamlessly with their apps. Furthermore, popular health apps may have limited usability based on which brands and models they can be used with. Hence, the app you want to use may also affect your decision for the hardware.
Apart from tracking fitness, devices can come with secondary features such as voice control, WiFi, Digital Display, Clock, etc. Hence, you will need to choose a model that has what you need.
Price and Accuracy
The rule of thumb is more that you pay for your step counter, the more accurate it is. Furthermore, the features also depend on the money. However, just like any other tech, some pedometers outperform their competition in the same price category.
While considering battery life, you have to consider three important things:
- If the battery is rechargeable and how much time does it take for it to charge.
- How much will the device be usable after a full charge?
- The battery lifetime, i.e., how often will you need to change the battery.
Some devices can allow you to turn off features such as GPS when not needed, thus, extending the battery life.
Fitness Tracker vs Smartwatch: Which One to Buy?
Even if their functionalities overlap, a smartwatch has more features than a fitness tracker. And since generally, these devices don’t have a lot of difference in their prices, many ask if there is any significance of a pedometer and why not everyone should buy a smartwatch.
The thing is that a pedometer is designed specifically to monitor health. For the same price, they are more accurate than smartwatches for body metrics.
A pedometer can play a very important role in your overall fitness, making you more aware of your body. It helps you to know how well you have been exercising and monitor the results that the workout has been having on your metabolism.
However, it’s not that you absolutely need a pedometer to be fit. It only gives you support, and at the end of the day, you still need to exercise, sleep, and eat healthy to be fit. Also, make sure that if you do have the device, don’t let it take control of your thoughts. Never overexert yourself, and remember fitness is a process rather than something that happens overnight.