A pedometer is a battery-operated device that measures and records the number of steps an individual takes based on the body's movement. Walking has become a very popular form of exercise in recent years. Pedometers are the primary tools used to calculate steps walked. Most pedometers today also count the number of calories burned over the course of a walk.
Da Vinci drew models of machines that would count steps. Many years later, Thomas Jefferson, a strong advocate of walking for health and longevity, developed the first model of a pedometer after visits to France. Before the advent of inexpensive electronic technology, pedometers were much heavier and much less reliable. A relatively large pendulum within the pedometer counted steps, and functioned very similarly to a clock. Each step was registered as an interval, and caused the counting mechanism to advance one notch. Most pedometers produced an audible click with every step. In the mid 20th Century in the United States, the popularity pedometers increased, as they were marketed with cultural icons, such as the Lone Ranger. However, the use of pedometers did not become widespread until recent years.
The use of pedometers has surged in recent years with advent of the 10,000 Steps Per Day book and public health program. Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese researcher, created the motto as an attempt to stem the rise in obesity within his country after a study to determine the number of calories burned while exercising. The 10,000 steps per day program quickly took hold as millions of Japanese citizens began wearing their "manpo-kei" to count the number of steps they took in a single day. Today, the use of a pedometer in conjunction with regular walking exercise is advocated by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States. The YMCA, former Attorney Generals, and other persons and institutions have taken to public advocacy of walking 10,000 steps a day with the help of the pedometer.

Related Terms

10,000 Steps Per Day, 10,000 Steps Program, exercise, manpo-kei, walking, Yashiro Hatano.