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Pedometers motivate people with diabetes to walk more
Date:11/19/2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The use of a pedometer and a Web site that tracked physical activity levels proved to be powerful motivators for people with diabetes who participated in a recent walking study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. The study also suggests that certain types of goal-setting may be more effective than others.

All participants in the study wore pedometers and received automated weekly goals that were based on their previous weeks walking activity. For half of the participants these goals were lifestyle goals, meaning that any step taken during the day counted. The other half received structured goals, in which only steps taken during long walks that lasted at least 10 minutes counted. These participants had a smaller target number of steps to take in a day than the lifestyle group.

Study participants in both groups increased their walking significantly during the program and there was no difference between the groups in terms of increased walking. However, the type of goals that participants were given in the six-week study strongly influenced their satisfaction with the program. Those who received lifestyle goals were more satisfied with the walking program, and wore the pedometer more days during the study period and for more hours during each day than those who received structured goals.

The finding sheds light on a debate among exercise experts about the ways in which people should increase their levels of activity. Some have contended that the only effective walking programs are those in which long periods of activity (known as bout steps in this study) are counted. Others have said that counting every step is a better motivator and is just as effective as bout-step programs.

Walkers in the group where every step counted experienced the same benefit as those who just had their bout steps recorded, says lead author Caroline R. Richardson
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Contact: Katie Vloet
kgazella@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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