Walk #2

Pedometers Plus: A Physical Activity Boost for Years

Sometimes simple things can have lasting effects. A new study in PLOS Medicine points to an excellent example. The subject is a 12-week walking program with pedometers. Follow-up on two different randomized controlled studies show real increases in physical activity three to four years after the program.

More Than Just the Gizmos

The story behind these outcomes is not about magic gizmos. It’s about an intervention that uses simple pedometers. But the pedometers came with a program of written or personal coaching and diaries. Two of the study groups received their support in person. One of the groups got it by mail. However, the control groups received none of that.

Note that at the end of the first year, folks in the usual care control group received a pedometer. But even so, they did not catch up with the treatment groups. The difference lies in the support that came with the pedometers. The researchers conclude that the support and encouragement of the program was important. The pedometers alone didn’t do it.

This study matters because it’s the first evidence for long-term outcomes with pedometers. And indeed, technology can help with better health outcomes. But once again, we see that folding the technology into programs that connect with people makes all the difference.

Click here for the study and here for more from Medical News Today.

Walk #2, photograph © eLKayPics / flickr

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March 18, 2018