TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Many people say they want to get out and walk or exercise more, but following through is another matter. Now, a study suggests that simply wearing a pedometer can help boost walking rates.
The study of more than 300 New Zealand seniors found that weekly walking times nearly doubled when they wore the devices.
"Use of pedometers, as a mechanism to monitor physical activity, was beneficial to older adults as they improved their levels of activity," said study lead author Gregory Kolt, head of the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney in Penrith, Australia.
"Pedometers allowed users to check their progress throughout the day against activity goals they had set for themselves," Kolt said.
The study, published in a recent issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, tracked walking rates for over a year among 330 relatively non-active people aged 65 or older.
At the time of the study's launch in 2006, all of the participants were deemed healthy enough to engage in physical activity, including walking, but most admitted they got little regular exercise.
Participants were randomly separated into two groups: one group received pedometers to track their step-by-step movements, and the other group did not.
All were then asked to follow New Zealand's so-called "Green Prescription" for physical activity -- a government-funded initiative aimed at getting people to engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
Participants were encouraged by both a doctor and in regular telephone counseling sessions to get active via leisure-time walking.
Over the course of a year, both groups of seniors boosted their activity levels significantly, the researchers found. However, those who had been given pedometers increased their average weekly walking time by almost twice as much as those who
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