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How to Use a Pedometer

Pedometers work by counting the number of steps you take, and multiplying that number by a pre-programmed step length. Learn how to keep track of your steps.


  • Step 1: Position the pedometer Position the pedometer in your waistband, directly above your knee, so that it faces straight up and down. It should not tilt to one side, and should fit snug close to your body.
  • Step 2: Measure your step length Measure your step length and enter it into the pedometer. A simple way to measure your step length is to make a mark behind your heel, walk 10 steps, and mark the spot where the same heel ends up. Your step length is that distance divided by 10.
  • Step 3: Test the pedometer Test the pedometer for accuracy by taking 100 steps. If the pedometer indicates that you have walked between 85 and 115 steps, it is 85% accurate. If the measured accuracy is not sufficient, try placing the pedometer on your side over your hip and repeating the experiment.
  • TIP: Be aware that walking on slopes, up or down stairs, or bent over will affect the pedometer's accuracy.
  • Step 4: Track the pedometer readings Keep track of the readings on the pedometer to learn whether you are meeting your activity goals and to help you develop a program to lose weight.
  • FACT: Thomas Jefferson has been credited with developing a pedometer over 200 years ago.

You Will Need

  • Pedometer
  • Waistband
  • Step length
  • Test for accuracy
  • Tracked readings
  • Awareness of inclines (optional)

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