Using a pedometer to count your steps is one of the easiest ways to stay active. It tracks what you’re doing when you’re nipping to the shops, doing a proper power walk or wandering about with your natty umbrella past a wheat field like our model below. Newer style watch-like pedometers only have one way to wear them – but, if you’re using a clip on pedometer you can wear it on your waistband, bra, belt, shirt, top – but, should you? Does it actually matter where you wear your clip on pedometer – and, if it does, where’s the best place to wear a pedometer for the most accurate pedometer reading? We decided to investigate and found the answer – and a few other tips…
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Why Might You Want a Clip on Pedometer
To some it might seem a bit of a throwback when we have watches and phones that count steps nowadays, but, there are a lot of reasons why you might want a clip on pedometer.
If you already wear a watch – and then wearing a trackable like the Fitbit or Apple Watch on your other wrist can look a bit daft.
Maybe you don’t carry your phone everywhere with you – and if it’s not with you, you can’t track steps. I work from home and so my phone is sat on my desk most of the time – I don’t want to walk around the house carrying it. You might also work from home, or work somewhere where you’re not allowed to have your phone, or don’t want to carry it – and in this case, having a discreet bra pedometer or hip pedometer clipped to your belt, waistband or undies could be the perfect solution.
You might not want to spend a fortune. The Apple Watch might be convenient, but it’s not cheap. A good basic clip on pedometer can cost just a few pounds.
You don’t need to analyse every element of your fitness routine. You just want to count your steps. Clip on pedometers, mostly, aren’t attached to smartphones – you just look at what it says on the screen and do a few more steps – or, give yourself a pat on the back. Yes, modern wearables and smart watches let you track what you did yesterday compared to what you did this time last week, but maybe you don’t want that. Maybe you just have a daily step goal and are trying to beat it – and in that case, a simple clip on pedometer will do the job brilliantly.
However, as we said before, whatever pedometer you buy, you will want it to be accurate – and so here are some tips to maximise your chances.
The Best Place to Wear a Pedometer – and other tips.
You Need a Tight Fixing
To give an accurate reading you don’t want your pedometer jiggling around so, when considering where to wear your pedometer, choose somewhere close to your body and fairly stable. That means ideally a bra strap, bra middle, belt or waistband. Keep wherever you clip it fairly tight and the pedometer upright – wonky pedometers give equally wonky readings.
Choose the Pedometer for Your Shape
If you carry most of your weight around the tummy the pedometer might not be able to lie flat and so you could be better off with a bra-pedometer or, picking one that works with your middle.
To find out the best place for you to wear your pedometer, try the 20 step test (below) with the pedometer clipped on your waistband, then try it again clipped onto the middle of your bra (ladies) or on your belt parallel with your armpit or close to your lower back (this does mean you’ll have to take it off to read it – but think of it as a nice surprise!). Whichever reading is most accurate then stick with it that position.
Don’t Put the Pedometer in your Pocket
It might work for the health app on your iPhone, but in a study looking at what happened when people did this with a clip on pedometer found that this was when the pedometer was least accurate.
Do the 20 Step Test
Pedometers can become less accurate over time – particularly if they use a counting mechanism using springs. The step test helps ensure yours is still tracking correcntly. Take 20 steps at a moderate pace. If your device measures between 18-22 it’s classed as accurate. Give it a little pat on the back and continue. If it doesn’t it may be time to retire it to the great pile of exercise equipment in the sky – and check out some of our replacement suggests for the best clip on pedometers below.
Keep Your Speed Up
Pedometers are more accurate at speeds over 2.5mph (4kph). Even the newest fitness trackers give a more accurate reading when walking relatively quickly – they didn’t track steps taken when people were using a walking frame well at all.
Generally, studies have shown that pedometers are most accurate at measuring steps taken while walking if you wear them on your hip rather than clipped on your bra or shirt – however, in this trial, the most accurate reading when people upped the pace came from when the tracker was worn around the chest area – so, you might want to swap your pedometer to there if you’re going running rather than walking.
Know Your Surface
If you walk somewhere very hilly, or walk on soft sand or similar the device may undercount. This is because pedometers count movements that apply a certain force vertically – steep inclines or soft surfaces can mess with this force and cause them to miss some steps, just factor in variability of about 10 per cent on these surfaces. Or, don’t worry about it too much – undercounting is better than overcounting after al.
Of course, none of this advice applies to things like the newer types of fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist – they’ve been calculated to work using arm movement (although – I’m pretty sure that means I’d earn exercise points while eating – and in fact there is a trial that did show that the Fitbit Flex counted eating as steps).
So, if you’ve decided you need to upgrade your clip on step counter – or, swap to one that fits better on your hip or bra, what should you try… here’s a few suggestions for the best clip on pedometer options.
If You Want to Try a Bra Pedometer
Clipping a pedometer to your bra strap or the band in middle of the bra is an easy way to hide your pedometer (although it can make it harder to track your steps on the move.) When I got my first Fitbit this was how I wore it and I that led me to decide that vertical-shaped pedometers make the best bra pedometers. Obviously, you can’t really wear them under a very tight top. Here’s some possibles to choose from as they are small and relatively flat. Try…
The Real Alt3DTri Sport 3D Pedometer. Comes out really well in pedometer round ups and gives you a lot of extra data like daily calorie burn.Click here to read reviews or check the price..
The Omron Walking Style range has a couple of different pedometers, but probably the most ‘bra-clip’ friendly is the Walking Style 2.1. It’s thin and light. Click here to read check the prices and read more reviews.
If You Prefer a Hip Pedometer
Again, you might want to check out the RealAlt3D tracker mentioned above (it does come in colours other than pink) as that will work on both hip and bra.
If you are a little bit fuller around the middle, choosing a clip on pedometer with a smaller area might keep things a bit more stable. So have a look at designs like…
Below is the 3DFitBud Simple Step Counter. It’s a good solid shape and the large display is good as it can be annoying having to remove a clip-on pedometer every time you want to check how you are doing. Click here to see the price and other information.
This Pingko pedometer is small, unobtrusive (unless you buy the bright green colourway) but still it’s very easy to see the display – and it’s brilliant if you’re on a budget. If you just want a basic, step counting gizmo, you can’t go far wrong with this one. Click here to check out reviews and prices.
The Fitbit Inspire can be worn as both a watch based tracker, or, a clip on – with the addition of a simple accessory. If you want something a bit more sophisticated than a simple step counter – but still want to clip on your tracker – this is a great option. The Inpsire HR and the Ace 2 can also be converted to clip on pedometers Check out reviews and pricing here. Don’t forget to buy the adaptor clip as well.
If You Want to Hide Your Pedometer
Probably the prettiest clip on pedometer out there is the Bella Beat which you could easily wear on your top or belt without anyone realising what it actually is. It also comes in other colours So click here to check out the range, prices and reviews.
So there you go: Where to wear your pedometer for the most accurate reading and some suggestions for the best clip on pedometer if you do want to give things a try. Let us know in the comments if you have another clip on pedometer that you love and we’ll add it to the list.