Walking: Make it count with activity trackers

Counting your steps with a pedometer can motivate you to keep walking. Here's what to look for in a pedometer and how to set your walking goals.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Walking is a great way to get and stay fit. But are you doing enough to see results? Using activity-tracking devices and apps, or even an old school pedometer, can help you set and reach your fitness goals. See how these tools can get you off on the right foot.

What are activity trackers?

Activity trackers, also known as activity monitors, are the modern equivalent of pedometers. But they do more than count steps. They also calculate calories burned. And many measure sleep quality, compute calorie intake, and serve as alarm clocks or watches. Some display your progress in real time; all can show it later on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Most activity trackers are made to be worn on your wrist, like a watch or bracelet, and can be worn round-the-clock. They are not totally accurate, but overall they provide more activity information than a pedometer does.

Pedometers keep it simple


Prefer to keep things simple? Then a pedometer might be a good choice for you. A pedometer counts steps for any activity that involves step-like movement, including walking, running, stair climbing, cross-country skiing and even movement as you go about your daily chores.

To use a pedometer, you usually just clip it onto the waistband of your pants, tuck it inside your pocket or even slip it into a purse held close to your body — and then get moving.

Feb. 21, 2014 See more In-depth