All pedometers are not created equal. They range from basic and inexpensive to jam-packed with bells and whistles. A bare-bones unit might simply measure steps, while a fancy one might measure steps, calories, miles, and heart rate. Just know that basic units can be equally complicated to set up, if not more so, because they're not as intuitive as the sophisticated versions. Whatever the model, pedometers all work in a similar fashion by counting the electronic pulses each time you take a step, and multiplying those by your preprogrammed stride or step length. Here's a time to pull out those instructions that came with your pedometer, because some refer to "stride" and "step" interchangeably, while others distinguish "stride" as the distance between one heel striking once and then again, which would technically be two steps. You just don't want to be short-changing -- or cheating -- your total count.
The average number of steps is 2,640. This is based on individuals that have a constant two foot stride. If you stride is longer, the # of steps will decrease a little. If your stride is shorter, the number of steps will increase a little. But, 2,640 is a good average baseline and will get you pretty darn close. There are multiple ways to measure your stride, here is an easy way If you measure out a distance of ten yards on the ground, walk it and have someone count the number of steps it takes you. Now, multiply your number of steps by 176. That'll tell you how many steps it will take you to complete a mile (there are 176 10 yard increments in a mile).
I hope this helps you with your goals!
Jennifer Edwins is the Fitness & Wellness Director at Mauldin Sports Center.
P.S. Here's a great video about the importance of walking.