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Count Your Steps with a Pedometer


Updated February 18, 2014

How Can I Tell How Far I've Walked with a Pedometer?

If you want to know how far you've walked, the following is a good rule of thumb:
  • 1,000 steps is approximately a half mile

Every 2,000 steps is equal to about 1 mile, so ...


  • 2,000 steps = 1 mile
  • 3,000 steps = a half mile
  • 4,000 steps = 2 miles
  • 10,000 steps = 5 miles

If you want to be more certain about the steps your pedometer is showing, wear your pedometer to your local walking track. Most tracks have a sign that says how many times around it are equivalent to one mile. So, for example, if three circuits equal one mile, mark your starting/stopping point and reset your pedometer to 0 before you start walking.

When you've made it around the track the required number of circuits -- in the example, three times -- take note of your steps shown on the pedometer when you return to your starting point; this number can serve as your "Steps Per Mile" (SPM) baseline (the number of steps you required to walk one mile).

If you can only make it around twice, multiply your steps shown on the pedometer by two; if one trip is all you do, multiply your result by four.

When I did my calibration, I came up with results similar to the numbers in the chart above. The first time I used my pedometer, I could only muster 1,000 steps. I was a little disappointed ... until I did my SPM calculation and realized I'd walked a half mile. That sounded pretty good after all!

That's how pedometers make a great motivational tool. I thought, "Gee, that wasn't so hard after all." and I looked forward to beating 1,000 steps the next day.


How Do I Use this Information?

Now, each time you walk with your pedometer, compare the total number of steps your pedometer shows to your SPM baseline. If you take more steps than your SPM, just divide your total number of steps by your SPM.


  • Example: Your SPM is 2,500.
    You walk 5,000 steps in a day.
    Divide 5,000 by 2,500 = 2.

    Ta-daaah: You've walked two miles!

Remember, this isn't an exact measuring method because it can't take into account when you walk slower or faster than you did the day you determined your SPM. But, it's still a good rule of thumb and a good way to stay motivated if you're more likely to feel a sense of achievement by measuring approximate distance instead of just steps.

More: How do I Wear My Pedometer? >>


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How to Use a Pedometer

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