5 Tips on How to Use Your Pedometer

Discover some more creative ways to track your steps.


By Cindy Piper


Studies show that wearing a pedometer increased the amount people walked on average by 2,000 steps. Now, there are so many options for pedometers that is easy to use one, but it won't work if you leave it on the dresser in the morning. I have used many different pedometers over the last ten years. Now I prefer to have a pedometer app my mobile device. I use Argus. If you are like me than you rarely go anywhere without it and so you don't have to remember another thing.

Many of my family and friends like activity trackers that they can wear like a watch. Activity trackers are great, but it isn't necessary to buy one to have a good way to count steps. My brother uses pedometer that he puts in his pocket. He has used for several years and he loves it. Whatever you choose to use just make it something you don’t forget.

1. Get competitive

There is nothing wrong with a little competition. Challenge your friends to see who can get the most steps in a day, week, or month. A very nice feature of Argus is it allows you to challenge friends. It is a fun way to rack up some steps. So challenge a friend, spouse or another Argus user.

There are also many different challenge ideas on the web. For the last eight years the National Transport Authority has hosted a pedometer challenge between September to October. There are many more workplace challenges. I even found a one day challenge on this website. I saw some ideas for raising money by how many steps you took in a month which may be easier than going to a walkathon for the charity. Some cities or schools encourage pedometer challenges. If there isn’t one where you live maybe you can take steps in the right direction to get a challenge started. Hopefully your competitive side will take you to a new level of activity.

2. Use GPS

If your pedometer has GPS capability, use it. It can be fun to see where you went and to explore new ways to get to places. My kids and I sometimes walk to the library, which is about 2.5 miles away. We use GPS services to find a route that had sidewalks the whole way. It was fun to figure out which way to go.

Through the GPS, we also found a vegetable stand about a mile away from our home and we walked over one day.

Variety is the spice of life. Change up your walking path.

3. Do your own chores

It is tempting in our fast paced lives to hire help for household chores. Just ask my husband how many times I have asked for a housekeeper. But once I thought of cleaning as exercise and wore a pedometer, I watched steps rack up as I mopped the floor or vacuumed.

Mowing your own lawn is another way to increase your steps. You can also try putting your laundry away one piece at a time. Take one item up the stairs at a time or one dish at a time to the kitchen sink. When grocery shopping, try walking down every aisle. Think of chores as killing two birds with one stone.

4. Walk instead of taking the car

You may think that walking will take longer, but looking for your keys, filling up the car, and walking from the parking lot can add up a lot of time. It may only be a few minutes longer to walk and costs less because no gas is needed to walk. I have figured out that one of my best friends in our neighborhood is just over 1,000 steps round trip.

I almost always walk to get there with that knowledge. When the weather is good, I walk my kids to school which is .4 miles each way. It takes 10 minutes to walk at a brisk pace is about 10 minutes. By the time I get my keys, buckle everyone, wait for the traffic light and wait for other parents dropping off their kids, I didn't save much time by driving and I got a short walk.

If you live close to stores walk when possible. We have lived a mile or less away from grocery stores in the past and I would make more than one trip a week so I could walk. We have moved around a lot for different jobs and one of our criteria for a new place to live is that we can walk a few places. is a good resource for looking up places you can walk from your home. We also have a neighborhood pool that’s a few blocks away and we walk there all summer long.

Try taking public transit. One study found that those who take public transit are more active than those who rely on cars. If you try public transit get off at an earlier stop or walk to a stop that is farther away from your home. We used to live in the Chicago area and I couldn't walk my entire commute but I would get off a mile early and walk. Walking instead of using a car is a great way to step up your activity level.

5. Work around your desk job

If possible, walk to work. This doesn’t mean you have to do it every day-you could just do it a couple times a week or when the weather is really nice. Once at work, avoid emailing or calling someone, but instead walk over and talk to them. Other workplace ideas include walking meetings, taking the stairs, parking at the back of the parking lot, or going for a walk on your lunch break.

If you get small breaks at work, go for a 5 to 10 minute walk. You don’t have to do a full thirty minute walk for it to be effective. In fact one study found that women who wore a pedometer and had a goal of 10,000 steps averaged about 2,000 more steps than those who went on a brisk thirty minute walk. So use these ideas to get more steps while at work.

Using a pedometer can be a good way to motivate you into a more active lifestyle so strap one on and step your way into a healthy lifestyle.

Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. Her children keep her very active. She is a homemaker and enjoys making healthy meals at home for her family. One of her favorite activities is to exercise. She loves reading about health topics and writing on her blog. Cindy takes courses about health through Coursera and iTunes University.

Main Photo Credit: JIPEN/; Second Photo Credit: Kaidevil/; Third Photo Credit: Cory A Ulrich/; Fourth Photo Credit: Syda Productions/; Fifth Photo Credit: TinnaPong/; Sixth Photo Credit: Micolas/