Female athlete tracking her activities using wearable techno

Counting Steps has Long Term Benefits

By wlr staff Trudi Purdy

Key Takeaways

  • Counting steps encourages people to get moving in the short term
  • And leads to them being more physically active even 3-4 years later

Studies have shown that wearing a pedometer or an activity tracker can help you become more active.

The fact that you are monitoring your activity encourages you to move more.

That’s not rocket science though is it?

However, a new study has proved that 12 weeks of walking using a pedometer leads to a more active lifestyle 3 or 4 years down the line.

The Study

Tess Harris, Professor of Primary Care Research at St George’s University Hospital, led two National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) trials – PACE-UP and PACE-LIFT.

In the PACE-UP trial, 1023, 45-75 year old primary care patients were recruited from several London practices. Some were given pedometers and advice on increasing their walking with a brisk 30 minute walk while others received pedometers through the post and the control group received neither.

3 years later, both the postal and nurse support groups were still more active than those in the control group

The same was found with the PACE-LIFT trial. This trial recruited 298 people from Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire but the follow up was 4 years later.

Professor Harris said,

‘We knew that pedometers could improve physical activity levels in the population in the short-term, but long-term health benefits require sustained increases in physical activity levels.

‘What is unique about this study is that we have shown that short, simple pedometer-based walking interventions, whether delivered by post or with advice and support from practice nurses, can lead to greater objectively measured physical activity levels three to four years later.’

How much extra?

The PACE-UP group with pedometers were doing approximately 600 steps extra per day and 24-28 minutes more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity weekly than the control group 3 years later.

The PACE-LIFT group with pedometers were doing approximately 400 extra steps per day and an extra 33 minutes moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week than the control group 4 years later.

Conclusion

Anything that encourages exercise is a great tool as far as we are concerned at WLR. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and even a 10 minute brisk walk at lunch time can make a difference to your waistline and your health.

So, even though the accuracy of some pedometers and activity trackers isn’t great, investing in one is investing in a fitter, healthier you for the future.

Earn yourself extra calories

WLR syncs with FitBit to log any exercise you do or you can add any exercise manually into your exercise diary. WLR works out how many extra calories you have burned and adds them to your daily allowance so you can use them for a few special treats or save them up for a night out.

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More Information

Read the full study

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