Walking Your Way to Fitness

Julienne Jagdeo
14 February 2012

Many of us want to lead a healthier lifestyle and stay physically active, but let’s face it, sitting on the couch and watching TV often seems much more appealing. So how are we supposed to stay motivated?

Did You Know?
Obesity rates among youth aged 12 to 17 in Canada tripled during the 25 year period prior to 2004.

A pedometer can help, and you can purchase one for as little as 15 dollars. It is a small portable electronic tool that counts the number of steps you take by detecting movement. Pedometers detect hip motion either through a spring-lever mechanism or a piezoelectric-driven device called an accelerometer.

Piezoelectric pedometers contain a flexible beam that looks like a tiny diving board. The beam has a weight at one end that compresses a crystal when in motion. The crystal generates a voltage proportional to the speed of the motion, which is then recorded. Piezoelectric pedometers are considered more sensitive than spring-levered pedometers and are more accurate at counting steps at speeds slower than 4 km/h (2 mph). Both types of pedometers count steps taken when walking, running, and even dancing, but neither detects shuffling or dragging motions.

Did You Know Leonardo da Vinci has been credited with inventing the pedometer based on drawings he made in the 15th century.

Increasing your amount of daily physical activity can provide significant health benefits. A group of researchers in the United States looked at over 2000 studies that assessed the relationship between pedometer use and health outcomes. They found that pedometer users significantly decreased their blood pressure and body mass index, both of which are associated with a decreased risk of stroke and heart disease.

Regardless of what your fitness goals are, there is clearly a link between pedometers and a healthy lifestyle. They are an inexpensive way to help keep you motivated!

Did You Know?
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends an hour of moderate to vigorous intensity activity every day for youth aged 12 to 17 years. This can include going for a run, taking a hip-hop dance class, or playing soccer–all of which you can do with a pedometer!

Learn More!

Tips to Get Active


“Obesity in Canada: a joint report from the public health agency of Canada and the Canadian Institute for health information”


“Physical Activity Monitoring in Children and Youths” Pediatric Physical Therapy. Volume 17(1), Spring 2005, pp 37-45.

Public Health Agency of Canada “Tips to Get Active: Physical Activity Tips for Youth (12-17 years)


Melanson, EL et al. “Commercially available pedometers: considerations for accurate step counting” Preventative Medicine (2004). 39 (2): 361-368

Gibbs-Smith C. “The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci.” London: Phaidon Press; 1978.

Article first published February 14, 2012

Julienne Jagdeo

Hello Let's Talk Science Community!

My name is Julienne and I'm from Burnaby, British Columbia. I am currently finishing my Master of Science at Simon Fraser University and will start my PhD at UBC in the summer.  My interest in science is mainly in molecular biology but I like anything science-related that is creative, innovative or just plain exciting!  When I'm not at school, I enjoy being outside, eating good food and having good conversation with friends (preferable all at the same time!). I am looking forward to becoming more involved with the community so please feel free to message me.  


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