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Consumer Reports: Pedometers to get you walking

December 28, 2011 2:28:15 PM PST
Walking about four miles a day is considered an ideal fitness goal. That's about 10,000 steps.

A pedometer can be an inexpensive incentive to help get you moving. But which ones should you buy? Consumer Reports has done the legwork for you.

A pedometer has helped John Hvisch count nearly every step he's taken while exercising for the last 25 years.

"It keeps me going," he said. "It keeps me really going, I'm telling you. Look at me, look at my age. I'm 86, and I just love it. I just love to walk."

He's on the right track. A Stanford University study reported that people who use a pedometer walk about a mile more every day than those who don't use one. If you're ready to take the first step, which pedometer should you get?

Consumer Reports' tested 10 conventional pedometers, three cell phone apps and three GPS watches to help narrow down your choices.

After logging close to 100 outdoor miles, counting more than 120,000 steps on a treadmill and climbing nearly 3,000 stairs, testers found several to recommend. The most elaborate are the GPS watches.

"GPS watches use satellites to measure distance, so they're highly accurate outdoors," Consumer Reports' Jamie Hirsh said. "But for $200 to $300, they might be more than a typical walker really needs."

For a mere fraction of the cost, consider a conventional pedometer, which clips right onto your waistband.

The Mio Trace pedometer is top rated. It costs $30, is easy to use and rated excellent for accuracy. It also has added features like a calorie counter, a stopwatch and a regular watch.

Or spend just $5 on a basic Sportline Step and Distance from Walmart, which rated very good for accuracy.

Either can put you on the road to better health.

If you're wondering about the cell phone apps, Consumer Reports says two rated very good for accuracy, and they're easy to use.

For Android phones, try the Accupedo pedometer widget. If you have an iPhone, testers liked the Pedometer Pro GPS Plus. These both go for about $4.

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