Pedometers are the simplest and easiest way to measure activity!
Pedometers continue to surge in popularity in schools (and with consumers) due to their affordability and simplicity. Pedometers do a great job of measuring physical activity by employing different ways of recognizing when the user moves their lower body (upper-body-only activity will not register).
Choosing the right pedometer
Pedometers differ widely in features, accuracy, durability, and price. Consider these factors when deciding which to buy:
1) Pedometer function:
- Step counting
- Distance travelled
- Approximate calories expended
- MVPA. The most sophisticated pedometers measure bouts of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). MVPA is defined as the level of activity required for a person to have difficulty carrying on a normal conversation while exercising (because they are short of breath). MVPA is typically the level of activity required to make a person start to perspire. It is recommended that children 5-17 get 60 minutes of MVPA per day. Each bout of MVPA should be 10 minutes or more for the body to receive the full benefit; the longer the bout of MVPA, the better.
- Uploadable data transfer. User data collected by Gopher's FitStep Pro pedometer can be uploaded to a computer. This is important to teachers who need to measure and record the activity of large groups of students.
2) Pedometer construction:
In some situations, a very simple pedometer with one button and no fold out window might be best, particularly with younger students. More advanced pedometers will feature larger LCD displays, more buttons, fold out screens and waistband clips that accommodate different sizes of waistbands.
3) Pedometer accuracy:
You can still buy inexpensive old-style pedometers that use mechanical switches to measure steps (these type of pedometers click during use). All the pedometers you'll find at Gopher use more sophisticated mechanisms to more accurately measure activity levels. University studies have demonstrated that pedometer accuracy can vary widely (by as much as 20% among models).