Step By Step Fitness

There are many tools you can use to get into better shape and realize a healthier lifestyle including free weights, a bicycle and training shoes. Recent research indicates that a pedometer can be a very effective tool for motivating sedentary people to become more active. It's a simple device often given to children as a toy that keeps track of how many steps you take.

In a Journal of the American Medical Association analysis of studies involving 2,767 participants, it was found that pedometer users in controlled trials took 2,491 steps a day more than those who didn't use the device. In observational trials, where researchers simply watch the actions of volunteers, the daily difference was 2,183 steps.

The Bigger Picture: Scientists noted that the more sedentary a participant, the more likely pedometer use was to succeed as a motivational tool. That's important because pedometer users in this compilation of studies realized a 3.8mm decrease in systolic blood pressure (the higher of the two numbers). A 2mm reduction is associated with a 10% decrease in stroke mortality risk. So if you aren't already involved in a walking or running cardio program, starting out with a pedometer can motivate you to go the distance.
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