We live in a society where we spend most of our lives sitting down. Modern day gadgets make our lives easier, compelling us to expend less energy. You’re probably reading this sitting down, either behind your desk using a PC, on the sofa with your tablet or on the move on your mobile. Getting fit can seem like a minefield, yet in reality it can be as easy as taking a few more steps to burn some calories, and one of the oldest pieces of fit tech can help us do more of that. Let’s take a second look at the humble pedometer, including steps to calories, how we can get more out of it, how many steps we need to take and how the new wave of fit tech can help us learn even more about our health and fitness.
A reminder; what is a pedometer?
A pedometer is one of the simplest pieces of technology on the market when it comes to measuring your activity. It’s a seriously low cost step counting gadget which was invested by Louis Perrelet in 1780. Fitness experts agree that we should all aim for 10,000 steps per day, a target which can seem highly daunting. A pedometer is thus an easy to sue tool which clips to your waistband, giving you some understanding about how many steps you take each day.
Pedometers are proven fitness devices, with years of scientific evidence backing up their usefulness. One of the more recent and compelling studies conducted in 2007 by the Journal of the American Association, Stamford University looked at 26 different pedometer studies. They concluded that pedometer users typically increase their walking output by 2,491 steps per day which equates to an additional 1.6km of daily walking. They also had lower blood pressure and lower bodyweight.
The Pedometer becomes an Activity tracker: The boom fitness gadget of 2013
The pedometer 2.0 is in reality an activity tracker, which is the reengineered, reincarnation of the humble pedometer. 20M activity trackers were shipped in 2011, but this is set to explode to 169.5m by 2017 (ABI research). This is being fueled by some of the biggest names in sports and technology, who are all rushing out products aimed at this billion dollar market.
Adidas are rumored to be launching a fitness tracker – read about it here
TomTom are launching their multi-sport watch, bringing their considerable GPS knowledge to the fitness tracker market.
Under Armor, the American fitness giant is launching the UA39 performance monitor, which they claim can even measure your willpower.
Alongside all of this, you have releases from Fitbit and Pebble, amongst a new wave of fit tech manufacturers who are shaking up the market with new releases.
Activity trackers V Pedometers: What’s the difference?
So we suddenly have a situation where modern day manufacturing giants are rushing out reincarnations of a cheap fit tech gadget which was invented in 1780. There has to be more to it, right?
The answer of course is yes. Below are some of the new features that you typically find on activity trackers verses pedometers:
Activity trackers are stylish (usually) rubber bands which are designed to be showed off. Pedometers are small little boxes which you anonymously clip out of site. Therefore, activity trackers wearers make a statement saying ‘I want you to know that I am taking my fitness serious’.
Activity trackers connect up with your smartphone via a companion app, which provides a richer layer of useful data. This data actually analyses your movements over time, giving feedback on stuff like calories burned. A pedometer on the over hand, simply gives you a steps output with no meaningful calorie data.
Activity trackers measure your sleep patterns, helping you to improve your bed time habits to get more restful sleep. Pedometers just measure steps and don’t measure your sleep.
Activity trackers sync with apps that help you actually get fitter, with information which helps even novice trainees to improve their fitness. They sync with apps like MyFitnessPal to achieve this. Pedometers are standalone devices
Activity Trackers have a social focus, encouraging you to engage with friends in order to drive each other to new heights. Social competition helps people to hit their goals quicker whereas you would have to manually share step data with friends with a pedometer. It just isn’t the same in terms of impact.
Activity trackers measure your diet too, encouraging you to improve the whole fitness and health picture. Calories consumed are inputted in to the app, which can then calculate your net energy position based on the amount of activity you have done that day, week and month. This helps you to map your weight, how it may change and where you may be in the next few weeks. This adds a whole new layer of motivation for many users.
With all of the new players in the activity tracker market, expect plenty of new innovation over the next 12 months too.