Pedometers, cheap and useful!

31 10 2011

I love my pedometer. I constantly use them, so I can tell you that the one I have is $10.99 from Fry’s.

I often get asked what it is, because it’s an extra white box on my belt that’s obviously too small to be a phone. Next, I always get asked “well, how’s it work.” So, here’s a blog entry on how a pedometer works.

Basically there’s a mechanism inside that detects bounces. When you walk, you cause a bouncing action for everything attached to your belt – that’s just how walking works. So, you enter in the length of your stride (or keep the default if you’re average height, like me) and from that it can calculate bounces multiplied by length of strides to figure out how far you’ve walked. And if you enter a time, it can determine how fast you walked or ran. Then if you enter your weight, it can guesstimate how many calories (kcals actually) you’ve burned.

Personally, just because I constantly lose these things, I just stick with the cheapest thing I can find. Though there are some cooler pedometers out there that will automatically link up with fitness sites via wifi and all that.

Couldn’t I just do this on a phone app? Phones have the same sensors.

Most Blackberries do not have these sensors. On Android, the better apps either completely drain your battery or cost money. I haven’t investigated this on iOS since the only iOS device I have is an iPad. So, technically – yes. But expect it to suck in some way (at least with the present selection of apps).

Tips on how to avoid losing your pedometer

First, ensure it is tightly connected to your belt. Sometimes with motion, it naturally gets loosened up and just falls off. Whoops.

Make it a rule of thumb that when you get to a TSA checkpoint that you just take off and pack up your pedometer until you get to your destination hotel room/guest room. I’ve lost A LOT of pedometers in airplane seats, baggage claim etc. Too much moving around in tight quarters and BLAM it’s gone.

Check it periodically. When you first buy a pedometer, you may think the hinge is upside down, it’s not. That’s because it’s supposed to be attached to your belt and flip down for you to read it. Just by doing this, you get a good feel for if the pedometer is about to fall off you so you can act accordingly.

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