Shocking Study: Pedometers Motivate People to Walk More

Last week’s post generated many comments from you, and I appreciated them very much.

With Thanksgiving approaching and New Year’s resolutions around the corner many of us are reviewing our commitment to our exercise program (or realizing that for the last few months we’ve had no commitment and therefore no exercise program).  With this perfect timing, this issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study looking at the benefit of using pedometers for increasing physical activity.  The study was also reported in this LA Times article.

The study was a review of the existing medical literature on pedometers, pooling together the data from 26 existing studies on the topic.  The review showed that pedometer users increased their physical activity, significantly decreased their body mass index, and decreased their blood pressure.  In addition to just using a pedometer, having a specific step goal, like 10,000 steps per day, was a strong predictor of increased activity.  That’s an important reminder about something that shouldn’t surprise us and is a useful trick in many aspects of life: making a specific goal is a critical step to achieving it.

So despite the fact that I’ve been giving out pedometers to my patients for about a year, I’m embarrassed to say that I stopped using mine (well, I actually lost it) months ago.  Time to break out a new one.

Let me know if you’d like a pedometer.  Now is always the right time for rededication to healthy goals.

Tangential Miscellany:

My wife and I wish you and yours a joyous Thanksgiving.  I hereby grant all of you a one day reprieve from the dietary limitations I scold you about during the rest of the year.  You may eat what you like provided that you are surrounded by loved ones and that happy expressions of affection and gratitude fill your home.

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