The Tale of Two Pedometers

I know a lot of people think pedometers are full of it, but for me, it helps to keep me going. When I look down at 11 a.m. and see only 1,000 steps, it gives me motivation to go for a walk during lunch. (True story, it happened today!) I’ve also noticed pedometer peeps are loyal to their brands. I’ve tried too many pedometers to count and always come back to the Weight Watchers pedometer. While it seems to give me a few extra steps, I’ve found it to be pretty reliable. Plus, if you accidentally drop it in the toilet (and bonus if you have a husband who will stick his hand in to get it out), it will keep working. Not that that’s happened to me or anything.

Moving on. My new job has a fantastic wellness program (more on that in another post), part of which is earning points for certain things that go toward rewards like gift cards and cash. Um, hello, up to $500 a year! That’s a pretty nice shopping trip! One of the ways to earn points is by wearing a company-provided pedometer, which you then upload your steps for points. (Their marker is 7,000 steps.) As much as I love my WW pedometer, I need the money, honey! OK so I finally got my new pedometer and wore in Sunday. That day I did Just Dance on the Wii, tons of cleaning, played outside with the kid, etc. Looked at the steps at the end of the day, fully expecting at least 10,000, and saw a grand total of 5,625. WHAT? That cannot be right. Here’s the thing I find strange about this new pedometer. There is nowhere to adjust the stride. You put in your height and weight online and it automatically calculates it for you. You cannot change it.

I was sure it wasn’t counting the steps right, but what’s a girl to do? Bring on the test, of course!

Monday I put on both my new pedometer and my trusty WW one. It was a good day for the test because I was off work and out all day, so I was going to do tons of walking around. I mean my Costco trip alone had to have been a couple thousand steps! (BTW, I have this new trick at Costco where I do one aisle on each side at a time so that I have to keep walking across the store for more steps. I’m sure the other customers find it annoying but I could give a crap; I need that movement!) So what do you think the test showed at the end of the day? Guesses? Anyone? Bueller?

Even I was surprised at this:

FotoFlexer_Photo

I know it’s a little hard to read with the light reflections, but yes, you are seeing that right. The WW pedometer showed 10,108 steps and the HealthMiles pedometer is at 6,332. I’d say a 3,776 difference in steps is pretty significant.

I’m sure the HealthMiles pedometer isn’t counting right, but it also got me thinking: maybe the WW pedometer I love so much isn’t counting the steps correctly either. On to the 100-step test. I took 100 physical steps. The WW pedometer counted 112 steps and the HealthMiles pedometer counted 37. I’ve since done that a couple more times, and every time the count changes.

This brings me to one conclusion: pedometers are ridiculous! I know two things to be true: (1) pedometers are a great way to be conscious of your activity and a great motivator to get up and move, and (2) pedometers are not a completely accurate measurement of steps taken.

Back to my real problem. I need to hit 7,000 steps a day to get my points and I have a pedometer that’s under counting. I guess I could call the company and try for a new one. But maybe the better solution is to keep this one and, excuse my lame humor, really “step it up” to get 7,000 (which is really more like 10,000). Either way, I’m moving more than before and that’s probably the more important thing. Of course, a little extra money never hurt anyone!

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