Pedometers count the number of steps you take and are valuable tools to use when following an exercise program. They can show you how far you can walk and how much you've improved over the course of your fitness program. Credit for the invention of the pedometer goes to Leonardo da Vinci, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, though these first devices were flawed and inaccurate. Today's pedometers use different methods to give you the most accurate results.
Understanding the Basics
Pedometers typically fall into one of two groups based on how they work, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. They feature either a spring-suspended lever arm or an accelerometer mechanism on the inside to count steps. The spring-suspended type bounces with each step you take and temporarily creates an electrical current that counts your steps each time it connects. Accelerometer pedometers read certain types of movements to determine which count as steps and which do not. Often this type is the best choice as it provides more accurate results, and shaking or jolting it will not count as a step.
Choosing Your Features
Features play an important role in the choice of your pedometer. The best pedometer for you will depend on your needs. One walker may want a simple pedometer that only counts steps while another wants to know the distance she's covered and the number of calories she's burnt. Your pedometer should include any of these features you feel will benefit you most and motivate you to keep walking. The screen should be easy to read, and the pedometer should clip or strap on in a comfortable manner that won't interfere with your normal stride when walking.
Finding the Best Pedometer
Prices for pedometers vary depending on the number of features and the pedometer's accuracy, but as of February 2009 the MayoClinic.com notes a basic model costs under £13. Higher-priced pedometers may provide more accurate results, but this varies between pedometers. The best method is to test the pedometer out before making a purchase. As this is not always possible, reading reviews online from Amazon.com or ConsumerSearch.com can give you an idea if a specific pedometer is worth the price.
After deciding on a price range and the basic features you need, the MayoClinic.com recommends checking that the pedometer and its clip or strap looks sturdy and durable. It should also be easy to use and the display should be easy to read at a glance, both while using it and afterward.