BYU study shows wearing a pedometer increases step count, even without looking at it

PROVO, Utah — A new study has found a simple way to increase your daily step count: just attach a pedometer.

The study, conducted by Brigham Young University, shows that wearing a pedometer increases step counts, even if users aren’t looking at it throughout the day.

“Humans are wired to respond to what gets measured, because if it gets measured, it feels important,” said Bill Tayler, professor at BYU Marriott School of Business and author of the paper. “When people go to buy an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, of course it will affect their behavior; they got the device for the purpose of walking more. But it is helpful for individuals to know that even without trying, just being aware that something is following your steps increases your activity.

The study found that those who used pedometers took an average of 318 more steps per day than those who didn’t have a tracker, even if they weren’t watching the pedometer or having specific fitness goals. .

“We wanted to know, in the absence of goals and incentives, does simple fitness tracking change behavior? Until this study, no one had convincingly shown what we have. shown – from an academic perspective, it turns out to be a very difficult question to answer,” Tayler said.

The reason this can be so difficult to measure is that to know if people are walking more with a pedometer, you need to know how much they walked before.

How did this group get this data? Iphones.

The iPhones have a step tracking number, for those already using it, it gave the team their step data before the pedometer.

Tayler said he received permission from participants to use their saved step history on their iPhones.

The team then gave participants a pedometer to wear, some without a display.

More information about the study can be found here.

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