Pedometer: how it works

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How a pedometer works

Il pedometer, also known by the name of pedometer, is a device which, as its name indicates, has the task of counting the steps taken by the user. There are different types: wrist, ankle, arm, etc. but, basically, the mechanisms of their functioning allow us to divide them into two broad categories.

  • Mechanical pedometers - the first mechanical pedometers housed a small pendulum which, with each step taken, swung back and forth, making a simple counter record the step taken by the user. Small curiosity: do you know who was one of the first to develop the idea of ​​a mechanical pedometer? Leonardo Da Vinci, just him! Today, the popularity of mechanical pedometers has dropped, "the fault" of digital pedometers, which I'm about to tell you about right now.
  • Digital pedometer - they work, in some ways, in a very similar way to mechanical ones. Even the digital ones, in fact, integrate a metal pendulum which, when the user takes a step, performs a movement detected by a counter located inside them. Unlike mechanical pedometers, however, digital ones often show data on an LCD display and sometimes allow you to monitor heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned and other parameters.

With the advent of the smartphone and devices wereable (smartwatch, smartband, etc.), it is possible to count the steps taken during the day using your own devices "paired" with some specific applications (which I will talk about later, again in this post).



How do these devices count the number of steps actually performed by the user? In a nutshell, they read the data from some sensors integrated into the device itself, for example the GPS, which is what makes it possible to know the geographical position of the device and to calculate the routes traveled by the latter through a satellite system, and theaccelerometer, which instead allows you to determine how the device is moved on various axes.



By combining the data captured by these elements, the apps that act as a pedometer are able to monitor the distance traveled by the user, the movements made by the latter and, consequently, calculate the number of steps that are taken. To ensure that the data recorded by the pedometer (be it mechanical, digital or from a mobile device used as a pedometer) is as accurate as possible, the user before using it must take care to configure it correctly by entering the 'exact length of his stride. This is an aspect of fundamental importance, as the accuracy of the measurements made by the device will depend on this data.

Pedometer app

If you've decided to use your smartphone as a pedometer, you will surely be interested in knowing which ones are the best pedometer app usable for this purpose. In the following paragraphs, I will not just list some of them, but I will also show you in detail how they work: try them with me and choose the ones that, in your opinion, are the best for your circumstances.

Pacer (Android/iOS)

One of the most popular pedometer applications is Graze, a semi-free solution available for Android and iOS, thanks to which you can count your steps, monitor your calories burned and create training groups to challenge your friends. Pacer also allows you to have a complete view of your personal records and the analysis of your physical activity, but to access these features it is required the in-app purchase of some elements starting from 0,49 euros or, alternatively, the subscription of the Premium subscription starting from € 4,49 per month. Another important thing to underline is that Pacer integrates perfectly with Apple Watch, which allows you to monitor your activity directly from the “made in Cupertino” watch.



If you have decided to try Pacer and have already downloaded the app, start it immediately, press the button I am a New User and follow the wizard to complete the creation of a free account: you will be asked to indicate yours sex of belonging, yours year of birth and other information that will allow Parer to set up a plan that suits your characteristics. After entering all the required data, register using yours email or your account Facebook.

Once logged in, choose whether to use the free version of Pacer or whether to try the Premium version for free for 7 days and, once you get to the main screen of the app, press one of the items below to move between the various menus of the same: Io, to view your personal records, monitor your daily average and change your stride length or other settings; Analysis, to view some general statistics regarding the steps taken, the distances traveled, the calories burned and so on; Feed, to view the list of people you follow through the app or Explore, to create groups and challenge your friends.

Now that I have briefly explained the various sections of Pacer, you are ready to use the app! Then click on the icon of scarpetta located in the center of the screen and start walking: the app will automatically detect the steps you will take and show them to you inside the quadrant located in the center of the screen, together with your level of activity (eg. Sedentary), kilometers traveled, calories burned and so on.


Accupedo Pedometer (Android / iOS)

Another pedometer application that I suggest you try on your Android or iOS device is Accupedo Pedometro, characterized by an attractive and at the same time easy to use interface thanks to which it is possible to count steps, view graphs of distances traveled, calories burned and discover other interesting data. Not all Accupedo features are free: to unlock, for example, the graph and database functions, you need to purchase the Pro version of the app, which costs € 3,99 on Android and € 4,49 on iOS.


After downloading Accupedo, start the app and, after registering with your Facebook, Google or e-mail account and providing the requested personal information (eg. weight, height, sex, etc.), go to the section Settings: to do it on Androidpiggy symbol (≡) located at the bottom left and select the item Settings from the open menu; up iOSinstead, tap on the item Settings located at the bottom right. Then go to the section Personal settings and personalize some data, first of all the length of your stride, to make the statistics more accurate and precise.

After customizing the app settings, start walking: Accupedo will automatically detect your steps and show you in real time all the statistics concerning your activity directly on its home screen.

To view data regarding your business daily, weekly, monthly o annual, if you use a device Android, tap on the graphic which is located at the bottom right; on iOS, on the other hand, presses on the voice Graphic located at the bottom left.

Other pedometer apps

There are tons of other applications that can allow you to count your steps. If the ones I listed in the previous paragraphs didn't particularly satisfy you, why not take a look at those listed below? I am sure you will find at least one that can do for you.

  • Noom walk (Android) - this pedometer app has become famous because, unlike its "colleagues", it consumes very little battery: in 24 hours of use it wastes no more than about 2% of charge. The Noom Walk algorithm, in fact, does not monitor the user's activity using GPS, but by analyzing the data coming from the accelerometer. If you want to have more details on how to use this 100% free solution, please read the guide in which I talk about apps for counting steps.
  • Pedometer (Android / iOS) - if you are looking for an app that is simple to use, this could be the alternative for you. Pedometer groups in a single screen all the data concerning your activity: from the calories burned to the distances traveled and, of course, the number of steps taken. For more details on how to use Pedometer, please read the tutorial in which I talk about apps for counting steps.
  • StepsApp Contapassi (Android / iOS) - if you want an app that is fun to use, maybe this is for you. StepsApp Pedometer, in fact, is characterized by an interface that presents animations in many of its menus, especially in those where there are statistical data. StepsApp, like the apps mentioned in the previous lines, also allows you to count steps, calories burned, etc. It is optimized for Apple Watch, allowing you to monitor data directly from your wrist, but to access all the integrated features you need to make in-app purchases starting at € 3,49.
Pedometer: how it works


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