Pedometers are a small device worn on your waistband that counts the number of steps you take. Pedometers are easy to use and are a great motivational tool to help you increase your physical activity.

How To Wear Your Pedometer:

  • Place the unit on your waistband as close as possible to the top point of the hipbone.
  • Ensure that the pedometer is vertical. It must remain upright and secure to record properly.

Set Goals:

  • Start off slowly and build up - determine a starting length of time for your daily walk and then increase the length of your walk little by little to reach the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity. For example, if you have been successfully completing a 20-minute walk, try adding two to four more minutes (making it a 22 to 24-minute walk) for the next few weeks.
  • Aim for 30 minutes per day - walking at least 30 minutes per day promotes good health.

Setting More Advanced Goals:

  • Find out how many steps you currently take.
  • For the first week, wear your pedometer all day, everyday.
  • Go about your normal daily routine.
  • At the end of each day, record the number of steps you took.
  • Find the average number of steps you currently take per day by adding up all of the steps taken on all seven days and dividing by seven. Now try and increase your steps by 10-20%.

Increased Benefits:

Once you are more physically active, you will reap more health benefits from walking faster as well as adding more steps to your day!

How Many Steps Should I Take?

Although this varies somewhat by age and fitness level, walking at a brisk pace, every day, but preferably at least three times per week, for at least 30 minutes (30 to 60 minutes is best), is the widely accepted guideline. While most group walks last for one hour, doing several short bouts of exercise (i.e. 10-minute sessions) is also widely accepted for achieving health benefits and may be more practical for certain populations. A simple way to work out how briskly one should walk is to aim to walk "fast without overexertion."

Health Benefit

Number of Steps

Long term health & reduced chronic disease risk

10,000 steps a day

For successful, sustained weight loss

12,000 to 15,000 steps a day

To build aerobic fitness

3,000 or more of your daily steps should be done briskly (i.e. fast paced)

*Government of Ontario, Active 2010 (2005). Using Your Pedometer.

Ideas for Increasing your Steps

  • Park your car further away from your destination
  • Walk your children to school
  • Walk your dog (or a neighbor's dog)
  • Take a walk with a friend/coworker at lunch
  • Take the stairs
  • Find out what is going on in your community
  • Start or join a walking club
  • Wear your pedometer even when you are doing housework or gardening at home


Pedometer Handbook

Related Resources