Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
Ever wish you could have as much energy as you used to? What if I told you a simple device, with no pills required could restore that energy, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes? All with a simple pedometer, like the free Gmaps pedometer.
Sound too good to be true?
Gmaps pedometer and other pedometers can provide the motivation you need to get there!
With all the technology and creature comforts in our modern lives make it hard to be disciplined enough to get the exercise needed on a daily basis. An expensive gym membership or pricey exercise equipment can work, but is not required. The simple act of being more active can get help you obtain your daily exercise goals.
1. What is a pedometer?
Pedometers are devices used to count the number of steps you take. They can be wearable or in the case of Gmaps pedometer a route you mark out ahead of time. Wearable pedometers can be spring levered or piezoelectric. Both use movement caused by acceleration through the hips to record steps.
Pedometers can record steps taken during most activities. However, in general they do not record steps during the following activities.
A side note for Gmaps pedometer, it could actually give you distances for these activities listed above. This is nice if you like to change things up and walk or run in addition to one of these activities.
2. Are pedometers accurate?
Pedometers have been found to be most accurate in step counting, the faster the movement is. This is because hip movement is the key to wearable pedometers. Specifically, when going over 3 miler per hour accuracy has been shown to be over 95%. This accuracy drops the slower someone walks or moves.
Gmaps pedometer is more accurate based on the number of pins that you drop along your route. This helps to detail your exact course. An example would be crossing the street and getting on the sidewalk versus simply putting a pin that looks like you are walking in the road.
For either type of pedometer, they are still giving a picture of approximately how many steps you take. Remember, increasing that number is the key factor, not knowing exactly how many steps you actually took.
3. Can a pedometer make a difference?
People get quite a shock when they find out how many steps they actually take in a day. Most overestimate the amount of activity and daily movement they partake in. They say knowledge is power and knowing how active, or inactive you are can be a powerful tool to change habits.
The benefit of wearing a pedometer is the motivation is can provide to promote more physical activity. Many people are far to sedentary and even a slight increase in physical activity could help improve their health. Having a way to track how active we are each day is a great way to compete against ourselves or others.
Now things like parking farther away from a store can be seen as a way to get more steps. Taking the stairs seems like a viable option versus the elevator. Many little differences can add up during the day to help you reach your new step goal.
Studies show pedometers increase activity
The Journal of the American Medical Association published an analysis of 26 research trials looking at the effect of pedometers. They found that people who used pedometers took about 2,000 more steps daily, which equals approximately another 0.9 mile walked per day. This was a 27% increase in physical activity! Throw the New Years resolution out the window and just get a pedometer.
Another study conducted by Sports Medicine in 2017 found a similar increase in activity. They noted an increase of 2,500 steps per day. The key factor was a motivation from knowing how many steps they had taken.
4. Health benefits of Gmaps and other pedometers
A study done on sedentary workers showed that both people with normal and high body mass index (BMI) significantly increased their physical activity by using a pedometer. BMI is a persons weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI is an indicator of high body fat and has been correlated with increased risk of several diseases.
The people in the study experienced clinically significant reductions in BMI, waist size and resting heart rate from using a pedometer.
Therefore, the authors concluded that increasing the number of steps per day by 3000 can have significant positive health impacts. The table below depicts what the positive impacts of reducing BMI, waist size and heart rate can have on the body overall.
|Stress relief||Lower blood pressure|
|Lower blood sugar level||Lower cholesterol levels|
|Increase bone mineral density (BMD)||Decrease body mass index (BMI)|
|Lower cancer risk||Lower diabetes risk|
|Lower heart disease risk||Lower Alzheimers disease risk|
5. Setting new goals with Gmap and other pedometers
Once you understand how many steps you take in a day or in a particular route, setting goals to increase them is easy. As a general guideline the table below indicates activity levels based on the number of steps per day. Keep in mind that a persons age and health conditions can impact these numbers.
|Activity status level||Steps per day|
|Sedentary||less than 5,000|
|Low activity level||5,000 to 7,499|
|Somewhat active||7,500 to 9,999|
|Active||10,000 to 12,499|
|Highly active||more than 12,500|
Healthy adults should be trying to reach the “active” level or 10,000 steps per day. However, keep in mind if you currently only take 4,000 steps per day the likelihood of getting to 10,000 right away is not very good. Instead try to move up the activity levels incrementally. Small wins and increases in steps to get to the next level up will allow you to see positive results and not feel overwhelming.
Adding a brisk walk during times of the day when you have down time can add up steps quickly. The U.S. Surgeon general recommends 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week.
What if you don’t have 30 minutes each day available?
You probably have chunks of 5 or 10 minutes you could use throughout the day that can add up to 30 minutes. If you don’t like to watch the clock during exercise then try increasing steps by 10% per week. If you were at 5,000 steps and you increased by 10% per day you would be to 10,000 steps in 8 weeks.
You should set a step count goal and come up with a plan to achieve it. Consult with your doctor first if you have a health condition to make sure you don’t overdo it.
6. Have social step challenges
As with any lifestyle or habits change being more active every day can be hard. Many people have jobs that have them confined to a desk and are tired by the time they get home. How can you overcome this problem?
A great way is having someone to hold you accountable. This can be a friend, colleague or family member. Have them ask you every day how many steps you have or write it down somewhere and compare numbers with them. When you are held accountable to someone else you are much more likely to follow through on your habits. For more on habits check out this great book written by James Clear titled Atomic Habits, they can change your life.
Don’t have anyone close to you who you want to be accountability partners with? No problem, social media has friends and groups of like minded people who are out there to support you in pursuit of your goals. Seeing others succeed is motivational and can cause you to take those few extra steps after supper.
7. Does Google maps have a pedometer?
If you don’t want to buy or wear a pedometer, then Gmaps pedometer is the perfect fit. Simply put in your route by dropping pins onto google maps data at this site and voila! Google will calculate your steps, distance traveled and approximate calories burned.
The Gmaps pedometer has a host of cool features listed in the table below. In addition to walking it can be used to calculate distance traveled and calories burned for running, cycling and other activities.
|Save your favorite route(s) on your computer or as a webpage.|
|Easily share your route with friends and family.|
|Print off the map of your route.|
|Move marker points from one location to another to easily adjust route.|
|Straight line between two points allow you to follow trails that are off road.|
|Reverse route lets you calculate distance and steps going back the way you had came.|
|Distance markers show mile or kilometers along the route you create.|
|Changes in elevation are calculated for you automatically.|
See the screenshot of the Gmaps pedometer website.
8. How do I walk on Google maps?
Creating a new route in Gmaps pedometer is simple. First, enter a location by city name, zip code or clicking on the map. Then Gmaps will display a map of that location. Next, click on a location as your starting point and then click on other points that you want to take on your route. As points are added Gmaps will automatically calculate distance for you.
That is it!
Now you can change distances between miles and kilometers, save or print the route and decide if you will walk, run, cycle etc. The more points you mark the more precise the distance and steps will be.
9. How do I map a running route?
Running routes are saved the same way as walking routes. Simply select the run option to modify the calories burned estimate. Using the zoom function allows you to zoom in and out to see the whole route and then detailed parts. In addition, the street level view gives insight into what the actual area looks like at street level. This feature is great when deciding if it looks like an area where running or walking would make the most sense.
Another important thing runners want to know is how many hills are there. The elevation graphs let you know exactly how much the elevation changes. Once your route is selected a graph is calculated providing details on elevation. This includes:
- Elevation in feet or meters
- Total elevation change
- Increase in elevation
- Decrease in elevation
- Minor variations in elevation on mostly flat roads are not included
This is a great heads up for parts of the run that will be easier or harder.
10. Save Gmaps pedometer map routes
The ability to save your favorite routes to walk or run is an important feature of the Gmaps pedometer. To get the most from this you should register and create a log in to the site so that all routes can be saved under your identification.
Once a route is created and saved it, Gmaps pedometer will create a route number for you. Next time you log in you can put the route number in the load route box to retrieve the route.
Don’t want to mess around with the route number? No problem…
Just bookmark the route after you save it and next time you click on the link the route will be loaded for you. Finally, remember that all Gmaps pedometer routes are publicly viewable.
Share your Gmap pedometer routes
Sharing activity milestones with friends and like minded people via social media can be a great way to hold yourself accountable to increasing your activity. Gmaps pedometer makes this easy to do. You can send routes via an email or copy & paste into Twitter or Facebook or even print them out on the share map routes tab.
11. Ways to maximize the Gmaps pedometer tool
Pedometers have been shown to increase physical activity. When you make the decision to start using a pedometer here are some tips to increase the chances of sticking with the program.
1. Get good walking, hiking or running shoes! If your getting blisters from increasing your step count that can deter you from continuing. Check out good shoe options such as these:
2. Try a hear rate monitor. Talk to your doctor about what your target heart rate should be and try to walk briskly enough (or run) to get your heart into that target range during exercies. Below are some great heart rate monitor options.
3. Use apps to record your calorie intake. If you are increasing the calories you burn, you should track the number you take in as well. Just as the pedometer may surprise you on how few steps you take, a calorie tracker may shock you on how many calories you consume. A few apps that are very helpful for this are listed below.
4. A wearable pedometer can be used with Gmaps pedometer. A limitation of the Gmaps pedometer is that you can’t map out your entire day’s worth of steps. However, wearable pedometers do allow for this. A great idea is to use Gmaps to calculate walks, hikes and runs and then compare Gmaps steps to a wearable pedometer. Some of the top pedometers are listed below.
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