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# How Many Steps Make a Mile on a Pedometer?

by
Doug Hewitt
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."
Pedometers help track your mileage. Photo Credit morguefile

Pedometers are a great way to keep track of distances walked, and they are easy to use. Most simply clip onto a belt or pants pocket. One of the advantages of using a pedometer is the ability to keep distance records. This can encourage the continuation of a walking program by charting the progress of greater and greater distances. As a government study has found, walking programs can result in weight loss.

## The Facts

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, there are 2,000 to 2,500 steps to a mile. The number of steps will vary with individual walking patterns. When people walk, the distance between the heel of one shoe as it strikes the ground to the next shoe’s end of the toe will be different. This difference in step lengths accumulates over distance, resulting in a difference of about 500 steps to a mile.

## Programming Pedometers

Pedometers generally allow you to program the length of your individual step so that the pedometer can be individualized to your walking pattern. There are various methods for arriving at the length of your step, and once you calculate your step length, enter the step length into your pedometer. This results in greater accuracy of distance readings.

## Methods

The simplest way to find the length of your step is to have a friend use a tape measure and mark the length of one of your steps as you walk by. Take several measurements and average them. The best way is to count the number of steps you need to walk a known distance, such as a football field, which is 300 feet. Divide the number of steps you need to cover the 300 feet. For 100 steps, the step length would be three feet.

## Walking Programs

As obesity reaches epidemic levels, more governments are encouraging citizens to participate in weight loss programs. Many programs offer walking challenges and other activities to encourage walking as a means of a healthier lifestyle. Walking as been shown to be effective in weight loss programs, and the longer a person stays in a walking program, the more weight is lost.

## High End Pedometers

Some high-end pedometers use GPS to locate the pedometer user. These pedometers can result in highly accurate recordings of distances walked. They often come with application software for computers so the information can be downloaded onto the computer and distances, average step lengths, speeds and other information about the walk can be calculated and displayed to the user.

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