Using a Pedometer Ups Leisure Walking Time for Older Adults

(HealthDay News) – Compared with time-based physical activity goals, using a pedometer to measure steps increases leisure walking time, even a year after the initial intervention.

Gregory S Kolt, PhD, of the University of Western Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled study involving 330 adults aged >65 years with low levels of daily activity. Participants were randomly assigned to use a pedometer and step-based physical activity goals (pedometer Green prescription) or time-based physical activity goals (standard Green Prescription) for three months.

Of the 57% of participants who completed the intervention, the researchers found that, at 12 months, there was a significant increase in leisure walking time in the pedometer Green Prescription group vs. the standard Green Prescription group (49.6 vs. 28.1 minutes per week). At the end of the intervention there were significant improvements in both groups across all physical activity domains, which were largely maintained after 12 months. Body mass index did not change in either group, while there were significant improvements in blood pressure in both groups.

“Incorporating pedometers into the Green Prescription is a useful strategy for consideration in physical activity promotion for older people, and our results suggest that these devices may have a large untapped potential for public health benefit,” the authors write.

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