Pedometer program effective in motivating people to move more

Updated: Jun 01, 2013, 09:25 AM IST

Washington: Researchers including an Indian scientist have found that a simple program that uses pedometers to monitor how much people move throughout the day is helping them decrease their sitting time and increase physical activity.

Saurabh S. Thosar, an associate instructor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and one of the study`s researchers, said that even if somebody works out 30 minutes a day, the fact that they are sitting and not moving for long periods of time for the rest of the day is in and of itself detrimental to their health and well-being, physiologically.

For the study, four men and 22 women in the age group of 40 and 66 completed a 12-week program in which participants wore a pedometer every day and received emails twice a week offering nutritional and exercise tips.

The pedometer, called an Omron, monitors physical activity, which accounts for any type of movement involving the lower legs.

The pedometer, which costs about $30 and can be carried in a backpack, also allows people to hook it up to a computer and look at a graph of the amount of steps taken as a function of time.

The participants were also encouraged to be active during the hours for which they had zero steps, such as when they watched TV or worked at a desk, and to download the data from the pedometers once a week.

The researchers found a significant decrease in sitting time and a significant increase in physical activity as a result of the program. The mean weight of participants dropped by almost 2.5 lbs.