The way things are

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Friday, September 29, 2006

The Problems with Pedometers...

For my HEPE class (yes, I'm taking HEPE. Let it be known now and forever) I have been wearing a pedometer every day and recording how many steps I take. Then I average it each week and look at some chart to see how active I was. I must say that I am often offended by the results. Let me tell you why.

First of all, pedometers cannot possibly calculate all activity. What if I were sitting down and lifting weights? I think doing a weight workout should be considered as activity. Also, the pedometer really doesn't get put on until right before I leave the house, so it doesn't get all of those steps I take walking around my apartment in the morning. I realize it's not a huge difference, but it could be enough to push me into the higher bracket.

The biggest problem with pedometers is that they just count steps, but they don't differentiate between what kind of steps. Whether I'm jogging or walking, it counts the same amount of steps, even though jogging is obviously the more strenuous activity. What if I have to walk up a bunch of stairs, or walk up a hill? It certainly doesn't take that into account. It also doesn't take into account elevation or pressure changes, which can cause you to burn more calories than you normally would.

Another problem is that pedometers specific to walking. If I swim, I can't wear the pedometer. So if I walk only 100 steps to the pool, and then I swim for three hours, the blasted thing still tells me I was inactive.

In conclusion, I suggest that although pedometers are lots of fun, they aren't very good measures of activity. Swimming is better than walking anyway.

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