Using Pedometers for Exercise Motivation

Pedometers are devices that record the number of steps we take at any given time. Put a pedometer in your pocket, or strap it to your shoe, as per the instructions, and once you start it it will record mostly accurately each step you take in order to make a tally. While it’s not perfectly accurate, most pedometers are accurate enough to be useful and to give us a general idea of how far we’ve travelled throughout the day, or how many steps we took when we went for our last jog.

There are various purposes for pedometers, but one of the most useful is for enhancing our training and helping to give us motivation. Here we will look at how pedometers can be used in that capacity.


Biofeedback refers to any kind of readout that gives us information about the human body in response to particular actions or changes. One example of a biofeedback device for instance is a heart rate monitor which of course provides you with information about your heart rate as you train or as you go through your day. This then enables you to know what you’ve done that’s worked to reduce your heart rate and to know how much effort you’ve put in when training which gives you a better connection to your body and makes you better at recognizing how much training you’ve done at any time and how much more you could do.

The same general principle applies with the pedometer. Here you are able to get an exact measure of how far you have walked or jogged or how much exercise you’ve managed to get throughout the day, which then makes it much easier for you to know what you’re capable of, to set targets, and to push yourself that bit further. For most of us having a measure like this makes it much easier to push ourselves further as we realise we only have to go X number of steps further to exceed the training we did the day before. Meanwhile seeing this kind of gradual improvement can also be highly encouraging and actually even addictive in a similar way to how golf (or levelling up Pok√©mon) can become addictive.

Another benefit of getting these kinds of figures is that you can use this to visualize your training results if you wish using charts and graphs. While not everyone will want to go to the trouble of creating a graph, if you are happy to take the time to write your training up on Excel then it can be highly motivating to see a curve in the right direction corresponding to your training.

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