Do walking pedometers work for running?

Q: Do walking pedometers work for running? I’d like to move my 6km-a-day running routine outside, but knowing exactly how far I’ve run is good motivation for me.

A: Unfortunately not. These pedometers are designed to monitor walking steps and are not as precise when it comes to estimating distance. Research from the University of Tennessee has shown that walking pedometers are most accurate at speeds between five and six kilometres per hour and are more useful when counting steps, not kays.

Most pedometers register each step through the vertical displacement of an internal lever arm. Since the lever travels a shorter distance when a person is running instead of walking, the accuracy of pedometers deteriorates the faster you go. Other devices, like the Nike+ system or a Garmin GPS watch, will more accurately measure the distance you’re running than a simple pedometer will.

– PATTY FREEDSON, chair of the department of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts

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