I recently received this email:
My pedometer is HIGHLY inaccurate. Last night I walked for an hour covering about 3 miles and the pedometer recorded about 300 steps. I’ve tried positioning it different ways and it’s no good. I walked down the hall from my cube to the break room and counted 104 steps, one-way. With the pedometer on my belt it recorded less than 20 steps. With it in my pocket on the walk back it recorded 120. This calls into question all the calculations for users of these pedometers in our Walking Challenge.
We’ve seen time and again that when walkers don’t have faith in the equipment that is, in part, meant to motivate them, the program won’t work as well. I’m well aware that running a walking program is a balance of costs and resources. But when making a pedometer-purchasing decision, it’s important to remember that not all pedometers are created equal.
The good news is, pedometers are one of the cheapest exercise tools you can buy. The high end of pedometers is around $30. The pedometer I have in my pocket (an Omron HJ-112) I’ve owned for four years and I bought it for around $20. Have a look at what our individual walking community says about their pedometers.
When you’re talking about a thousand pedometers, the difference between five dollars and twenty dollars is huge. With that in mind, here are a couple of ideas we’ve seen in order to help with the purchase of higher-quality pedometers.
- Employee kick-in: Some of our programs have asked their employees to kick in $10 for their program which can offset the initial cost of a higher-quality pedometer significantly. And when they realize they’ll be getting a $15 – $20 pedometer for $10, the value proposition is easy for them as well.
- Loaner Pedometers: One of our programs has purchased a bulk of loaner pedometers. They run shorter term walking competitions of about eight weeks each a couple of times a year, and for each competition they loan out the pedometers and collect them at the end of the competition. This might not work in all settings — however, your walkers will respect the equipment more, your pedometers will last longer and you won’t need to re-purchase them for each walking program you run (incidentally: We’ve seen that running series of shorter-term programs works incredibly well, which is why we’ve begun offering fully managed walking programs.)
In any case, spending the money to purchase a higher-quality pedometer will pay off in the end. You’ll have walkers more committed to the program, and will thus yield much better results. We’re trying to enable long-term lifestyle changes here at Walker Tracker, and you need a pedometer you can rely on for the long haul.