One of the easiest and most accessible ways to track, monitor, and improve your fitness is by counting your steps. While the idea of literally counting your steps is hilarious and absurd, the truth is we live in an innovative time.
Now there’s plenty of tech that can help you make sure you get your steps in every day. It’s easy to reach your health and fitness goals when you simply put one foot in front of another.
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- 3DActive 3D Pedometer PDA-100
- Realalt 3DTriSport 3D Pedometer
- NAKOSITE PED2433
- Pingko 3D Carabiner Pedometer
- Omron Walking Style One 2.1
- Pingko Pedometer
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.
Get those steps in!
“Getting your steps in” is a phrase that’s tossed around often, mainly because most people are very sedentary. But what does that actually mean, and why is movement so beneficial to your health? It turns out, the simple act of walking can help you stay on track with the rest of your fitness goals and helps improve overall life satisfaction.
While sitting isn’t the best for your health, the truth is that the lack of movement is even worse. Even for people who exercise, sitting for extended periods of time can thwart your fitness goals. Research shows that being inactive for long periods of time – such as at work or whilst lounging on your sofa – inhibits blood flow to your muscles. Going hard in the gym isn’t going to be of much use if your muscles don’t have the nutrients they need to recover and grow. This is one of the reasons why having a pocket pedometer is so useful.
When you focus on more movement outside of your workout, your helping prevent the dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) from occurring in the first place. If you’re like most people, you’re on a path to fitness because you want to ensure you have a good quality of life later on and because you enjoy knowing that you’re working toward being healthy every single day.
But workouts alone won’t help, since the energy you burn from doing things like walking is the biggest source of your daily caloric use. Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) includes everything you do all that that isn’t workout out, sleeping, or eating. When you incorporate a pocket pedometer into your toolbox, you’re better equipped and aware of how much you might (or might not) be moving.
Some fitness enthusiasts will tell you that you need to take 10,000 steps a day. This number is somewhat arbitrary and stems from pedometers that were sold in Japan in the 1960s. The Japanese word “manpo-kei” loosely translates to “10,000 step meter,” so the figure stuck.
For most healthy adults who already engage in some for of physical activity, research suggests that anywhere from 4,000 to 18,000 steps a day is beneficial. Your personal number is going to depend largely on how much you push in the gym, what kind of cardio activity you do, and how much you sit.
No matter if you aim for 4,000 or 18,000, the benefits of having a pocket pedometer are exceptional.
What is a Pocket Pedometer?
No matter what kind of pedometer you choose to wear, the concept of each is the same – it’s a small device that you carry with you to measure steps and movement.
Pocket pedometers aren’t all the same – there are basic models to those that are full of all the things you might need to measure your steps. All pedometers work in a similar way – by counting the electronic pulses that are generated by movement.
Pedometers can be used outdoors or on a treadmill if weather is inclement.
Benefits of Walking
Tracking steps is huge trend because it helps to make long-range goals into bite-sized attainable action items that can be completed each day. Using a pocket pedometer can help you stay more accountable throughout your day, which in turn might help you add in more fitness overall. The beauty of pocket pedometers is that they go with you everywhere.
Walking is an excellent way to increase your NEAT since it’s the simplest form of exercise. Research shows that simply adding in more movement to your day can help in the following ways.
Boosts digestion + regulates blood sugar – Multiple studies have shown that walking helps increase digestion as movement helps speed up the rate at which food moves through the GI tract. Walking helps decrease blood sugar after meals, which clears glucose from the bloodstream to lower levels. Heading for a short walk after a meal can help increase metabolism and helps the body use glucose more efficiently, which might ward off diabetes and other related conditions.
Decreases arterial tension + improves cardio health – Any movement can help increase heart health. Walking helps to reverse some of the impairment of the endothelium – the layer of cells that line arteries. Adding in more movement throughout the day can help improve endothelial function, which in turn prevents arterial stiffening. The result is a decrease in the likelihood of coronary related diseases and conditions.
Improved mood/outlook – Research shows that lunchtime walking can help you feel more relaxed and enthusiastic about the workday.
How Does a Pedometer Work?
Every time you take a step, you body shifts to one side as you swing a leg forward. Then, your body shifts to the other side to swing the opposite leg forward. The title of your hips and the shifting of your legs counts as one step. Pedometers measure these shifts and then multiple the number of steps by the length of each one to find out how far you’ve walked.
There are two types of pedometers – mechanical and electronic. Mechanical pedometers measured steps much the same way that pendulum clocks measure time. As the pendulum inside a pocket pedometer moves back and forth, it measures and recovers steps. The number of steps are displayed on a dial, similar to the face of an analogue watch. Early pedometers were often worn on the waistbands of trousers.
With the advancement of tech, electronic pedometers are far more common. Most still include a pendulum that are wired into an electronic counting circuit. When the circuit is open, no electric current flows, but as you shift your hips to take a step, current flows through the circuit, allowing the step to be measured.
Once the movement is complete, the pendulum swings back into place, and the circuit closes. Electronic pocket pedometers display steps on an LCD. The number of steps is then converted into an approximate distance or an approximate number of calories burned.
More advanced pedometers are entirely electronic, so there are no moving parts. These high-tech versions tend to last longer and are often more consistently accurate. Instead of relying on a dated pendulum to measure steps, current iterations of pocket pedometers use accelerometers.
Accelerometers are microchips arranged at right angles that detect small changes in force as you shift your hips and move your legs. The use of accelerometers means that many pocket pedometers no longer need to remain upright to count steps.
How Accurate Are They?
No matter mechanical or electronic, all pocket pedometers are approximations. Sometimes false movements can register as steps, or sometimes your movements aren’t measured at all.
The newest versions of pocket pedometers are far more reliable and accurate than old manual ones, but remember that you shouldn’t take your count too seriously. Some pedometers can be off by up to ten percent.
The most reliable way to use a pedometer is to keep it as close to your waist as possible since it needs to detect shifts in your hips to measure and record movement.
What to Look for in a Pocket Pedometer
Choosing the best pedometer will depend largely on what metrics you want to track and how you plan to use it. Some models include accessories that help encourage you to move throughout your day.
The higher the price point of a pedometer, the more likely it’s going to include “intuitive” metric tracking options, like pulse monitors, stopwatches and alarms. While those are very useful for certain population groups, if you’re simply purchasing a pedometer to remind yourself to be more active, you might not need the added bells and whistles.
After all, the basic function of a pedometer is to simply count your steps.
The most basic pedometers should include a display to show you how far you’ve walked. More advanced versions might show the calories you burn during the day and the distance you’ve travelled.
If you want to wear a pedometer while you’re working out, make sure the model you select has an option for aerobic activity. This will help accurately measure sustained periods of movement.
Some pedometers feature multiple day memories. This is exceptionally useful if you like to compete with yourself and encourage more movement over the course of several days.
A Detailed Look at the Best Pocket Pedometers
This 3D Active 3D Pedometer has a thirty-day memory, which will help you stay on track with your fitness goals. It can be used for running or walking, and also gives you distance travelled in kilometres or miles. Easily check your caloric burn for the day and the duration of your walks and runs.
- 4.8 x 2.3 x 4.8 cm
- 27 g
- Lithium battery included
- 30-day memory
- Daily target goal
- Large screen that’s easy to read
- Records walking and running
- Needs to be set up and programming it can be challenging
- Distance isn’t always completely accurate
- Battery life isn’t the best
- Pauses during a walk or run can reset the pedometer to zero
This pocket pedometer is decent for the price point. It might not be the most accurate though, so think carefully about your goals and your tracking before purchasing. If you’re buying a pedometer as a mental cue to stay more active, this might a great choice for you. However, if you’re a data-nerd and want specifics, you might want to consider another option.
The sleek design of the Realalt 3DTriSport 3d Pedometer means you can wear it comfortably on the waistband of your trousers or skirt, or even attach it to a lanyard or keep it in your pocket. When you’re looking for a pedometer to help you stay on track, this one fits the bill. The display is easy to read, and the pedometer is simple to set up.
- 7.6 x 3.4 x 1.1 cm
- 27.2 g
- Lithium battery included
- Rectangular design makes it easy to clip on waistband
- Easy to set up
- Month-long memory
- Tracks distance and calories burned
- Can be used for running
- Accuracy isn’t always correct
- Clip design isn’t the best; it doesn’t stay connected to trousers very well
- Time display sometimes isn’t accurate, so it’s not good for longer use
The design of this pedometer should make it perfect for counting steps, but sometimes the clip can be fickle. As a result, it falls off easily. Sometimes the step counter isn’t accurate, and the time display isn’t always correct either. If you’re looking for a pedometer to help you stay motivated, this might work to start, but you might be buying a new one soon.
The Nakosite PED2433 comes with a clip and strap so you can wear it anywhere. Measuring in both kilometres and miles, this pocket pedometer can be used to set daily goals and increase your overall fitness. The large display is easy to read and also tracks calories burned.
- 15 x 7 x 3.8 cm
- 59 g
- Batteries not included
- Water resistant
- Easy to carry
- Has daily goal setting feature
- Step readings aren’t always accurate
- Heavier than other pedometers on the market
- Doesn’t come with batteries
- Instructions for set up aren’t clear and hard to read
- Difficult to program for daily goals
The accuracy of this pedometer is questionable. The sleek design makes it easy to carry, but it might not be tracking all of your steps like it should. For those who want a pedometer to motivate and keep them accountable, this might be a good choice. The year-long guarantee is a big selling point, so it’s definitely worth the purchase.
This Pingko 3D Carabiner pocket pedometer is a great choice because of its design and accuracy. Easily clip to anything and monitor your steps, it can record in both kilometres and miles. Check calories burned and set daily goals using the simple programmable features.
- 3.8 x 2.5 x 7.6 cm
- 81.6 g
- Batteries not included
- Carabiner clip makes this simple to attach to anything
- Doesn’t need to be upright to work
- Slim design fits comfortably inside pockets
- Simple to read, clear and bright LCD display
- Only has a seven-day memory
- Resets automatically at midnight
- Battery not included
- Heavier than many pedometers on the market
The week-long memory isn’t as long as others on the market, but this pedometer makes up for it with its accuracy and sleek design. The carabiner clip makes it easy to attach to just about anything. You can safely and securely clip it anywhere and know that it’s going to stay in place.
This basic Omron pedometer is perfect for anyone who’s ready to start tracking their steps but doesn’t want to spend too much money. It offers the basics with no bells and whistles, which is what you want in a pedometer.
- 20 g total weight
- Battery included
- Belt clip included
- Tool for removing battery cover
- Has an aerobic mode for running
- Clear, easy to read display
- Easy to change modes
- Only has a seven-day memory
- Sometimes it’s difficult to programme
- Accuracy can be off at times
This is an inexpensive pocket pedometer that offers the basics you might need. It will help you stay accountable and motivated to reach your fitness goals. The simple display is easy to read and will help you track your fitness progress.
The appeal of this PINGKO pedometer is in its simple design and basic functions. It does everything you need a pedometer to do – measure distance, calories burned, and distance travelled. The set-up is simple, making it easy for you to incorporate this right into your life right out of the box.
- 66 x 44.55 x 24 mm
- Battery included
- 40.8 g
- Simple to set up, instructions are clear
- Very small
- Heavier than some other pedometers on the market
- Sometimes the unit resets itself and data is lost
- Clip isn’t very strong or durable
- Doesn’t have a memory function
This is a very basic pedometer that measures what you need and has no extra frills. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t keep a history of steps since that makes it hard to track and stay focused on goals. If you’re interested in simply moving more each day, this is the pedometer for you.
A pocket pedometer is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help you take control of your health and fitness. Pedometers can offer that extra bit of motivation you need to meet your daily goals so that you can meet your overall goals.
A good pocket pedometer will count your steps and show you a measurable number of how active you’ve been during the day. For most of us, this number then becomes a benchmark that we work to meet or exceed. Choosing the right pedometer can be tricky since there are so many factors to consider. It’s important you find the right model that has the features you want.
Some pedometers only count steps, but others will count steps, distance, and calories burned. Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, you might find these metrics to be more or less useful.
No matter which model you purchase, know that you’re one step closer to a healthier version of yourself. Walking is a great way to keep your mood elevated, blood sugar regulated and can help improve digestion. In turn, all of these factors can help you stay committed and focused.
If you’re struggling to get your steps in every day, try thinking outside the box. Get off the train a few stops early or take the long way home. During lunch, consider taking a moving break so you can relax your mind and move your body at the same time. Take the stairs whenever possible, and park as far away from shops as you can. All of these simple tweaks can help you keep up your caloric burn throughout the day, and you’ll be one step closer to your goals – literally.