Monday, January 7, 2008

Walk Further with a Pedometer

My wife and I recently installed a photovoltaic system at our house so that we can generate electricity from the sun. If we produce more than we use (which we do), we can sell it back to the power company. By producing an excess of electricity, I thought that we may become less careful about energy use, but the opposite reaction has occurred. We have actually become more conserving of electricity. Apparently, a similar mentality occurs when people use pedometers to keep up with the amount of walking they do on a daily basis.
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently summarized the results of 26 studies involving 2767 healthy adults that evaluated the association of pedometer use with physical activity and health outcomes. This review found that by simply wearing a pedometer, participants were motivated to increase the number of steps that they took each day. Overall, pedometer users increased their physical activity by an astonishing 26.9% over their baseline. But better yet, these same subjects also significantly decreased their body mass index as well as their systolic blood pressures.

The health benefits from use of a pedometer were clear in this study population. For those who require some extra motivation, this may be an easy way to increase their amount of daily exercise. The authors of this study weren’t sure if the level of physical activity and improved physical parameter would persist, but I can tell you that after 6 months of our photovoltaic system being on-line, we are still enjoying watching our electric meter “run backwards”.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I wanted to know how many steps I was taking and went out and bought a pedometer. I wore it all day at work. When I got home I took it off to see how far I walked. It registered 7 steps! I know I walked more than 7 steps all day. The moral is, don't buy a cheap pedometer. Do you have a model that you recommend?

Must feel great to see the electric meter run backwards.