What is a Pedometer and How Can I Benefit from Using One?

Tracking Physical Activity with a Pedometer

General recommendations include reaching 10,000 steps per day, which may not be the ideal goal for an individual beginning a physical activity program, or for individuals with a disability or mobility impairment.

Start by attaching the pedometer in the morning and wearing it all day. At the end of the day, record the steps (movement) and repeat this process for one week’s time. At the end of the week calculate an average of the person's daily steps (movement) and identify a starting goal for daily physical activity. A log for tracking daily steps (movement) can be recorded in a variety of methods. Use a tracking method that is easiest for an individual to stay focused on progress, success and goals (household calendar, desk calendar, notebook, daily organizer, log on refrigerator or bulletin board).

Measuring and being aware of one's physical activity intensity level (how hard one is working) is important while wearing a pedometer. Check heart rate and/or use the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) table to determine a person's workload.

Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE): This is a scale of how hard a person feels they are working while exercising, which ranges from 6 to 20. To use the scale, the person monitors how he/she feels while exercising, with a general goal of 12 to 13.

Table 3: Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale
7 Very, very light
9 Very light
11 Fairly light
13 Moderately hard
15 Hard
17 Very hard
19 Very, very hard
20 Exhaustion

From: Borg GA. Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1982; 14(5):377-81.

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