How to Use a Pedometer to Measure Your Stride
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How to Use a Pedometer to Measure Your Stride

Get the most out of your pedometer by making sure you've accurately measured your stride. Here, a physical therapist shows you how.
Question: "I just got a pedometer so I can keep track of my steps. What's the best way to measure my stride?"

Answer: You can measure your stride in as little as 20 feet, but using a longer distance will result in a more accurate measurement, says Reed Humphrey, PhD, a professor of physical therapy at Idaho State University.

He suggests going to a 400-meter track (the size of most high school tracks) and counting your steps as you walk one lap. Next, divide the number of steps you take by 1,308 to get your stride length in feet. The trick is to take the measurement in mid-gait, says Humphrey. In other words, rather than starting from a dead standstill, walk a few strides before stepping onto the track and continue for a few strides after you exit. "Your first and last strides don't reflect your normal gait," says Humphrey.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, April 2006.