Using a pedometer for a year also results in increased exercise and improved heart health four years later

Using a pedometer for a year also results in increased exercise and improved heart health four years later

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Does using a pedometer have long-term effects?

Researchers have now found that the year-long use of pedometers still has a positive effect on the activity of those affected years later and thus contributes to improved heart health.

An investigation by St. George’s University Hospital found that years of using a pedometer in people contributed to improved activity and heart health even years later. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "PLOS Medicine".

Effects of encouraging additional exercise

For the examination, the participants were asked to use a pedometer for a period of twelve months to determine the daily number of steps. As a result, they were much more active four years later. The 1,300 participants who received a pedometer were divided into two groups in the study. The first group was supported and advised by medical staff, focusing on simple measures to increase physical activity, such as getting off the bus early to get additional exercise. The second control group used a pedometer, but was not advised. Both groups initially took around 7,300 to 7,500 steps a day, but at the end of the experiment the participants, who were encouraged to do additional exercise, took an average of 600 additional steps a day. This corresponds to 90 additional minutes of moderate training per week. This implementation of the increased movement persisted, and those who were initially encouraged to exercise more surpassed the control group participants in their activity four years later.

Five minutes more exercise a day reduces the risk of illness

Just five minutes of additional exercise a day can prevent a large number of heart attacks, strokes and broken bones in the population, the researchers say. An additional half an hour of exercise a week is by no means too much if it can reduce the risk of a heart attack, fracture, or stroke. This requires only five minutes of additional exercise a day.

Physical activity to reduce costs in the health system

In each phase of the study it was found that simple short-term intervention based on pedometer leads to an increase in the number of steps, which has corresponding long-term health effects. This type of intervention can have a long-term impact and should be used on a larger scale to address the challenge of physical inactivity in healthcare. By avoiding a large number of heart attacks, strokes and fractures, the health system could save a lot of money in the future, the authors report. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Tess Harris, Elizabeth S. Limb, Fay Hosking, Iain Carey, Steve DeWilde et all .: Effect of pedometer-based walking interventions on long-term health outcomes: Prospective 4-year follow-up of two randomized controlled trials using routine primary care data, PLOS Medicine (query: 06/26/2019), PLOS Medicine

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