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Pedometers

Pedometers Really Work to Increase Daily Walking Exercise

Sunday, June 22, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: pedometers, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) The use of pedometers to track daily walking goals actually leads to an increase in how much people walk, according to a meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Stanford Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers examined the results of 26 studies on a total of 2,767 people. They found that people who set daily walking goals for themselves or who used pedometers to track their walking went approximately 2,000 steps farther per day than people who did not use pedometers or set goals.

The researchers suggested that pedometers may help people quantify their walking goals, and hold themselves to them.

"My sedentary patients know they need to be doing more, but they haven't been motivated," said lead author Dena Bravata. "I'm certainly recommending a pedometer and a step goal now."

Pedometers are small, matchbook-sized devices that are usually worn at the waist. The devices, which cost $5-$50, record how many steps a person takes, as measured by the impact of the foot upon the ground. In addition to counting steps, more elaborate models calculate distances traveled and allow users to track their numbers over time.

Patients who used pedometers also tended to show a slight improvement in weight and systolic blood pressure, although the researchers noted that this change did not appear to be due to the increased exercise. Bravata speculated that for some reason, people who use pedometers may end up adopting other healthy behaviors such as watching their diets.

Health experts warned that pedometers are not a quick-fix for obesity, and that it takes long-term commitment to improve health.

"The bottom line is, everything works for a month," said Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatrician and obesity expert from the University of California at San Francisco. "Everything that's novel works, and as soon as it stops being novel, it doesn't work."

"Can a pedometer help you? If you have the motivation, sure. If you don't, it's useless," he said.

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