Using a pedometer can motivate you to walk farther. But which one to choose? Take this checklist to the store to score exactly what you need:
[ ] Check the accuracy. While we all love a bargain, a pedometer that adds steps when you simply shake it doesn't do you much good. And good ones aren't that expensive anyway -- typically, $15 to $30. There are different mechanisms that count steps, but accelerometers are considered the most accurate. Look for models that need to be calibrated to your stride length (it's really easy to do).
[ ] Check how it attaches. The last thing you want is to have to retrieve a pedometer from two stalls over after it's popped off your sweats in the Target bathroom (happened to one of us). Look for a sturdy clip-on model, ideally with a tiny clip-on "leash" as a backup. (Pedometers with flimsy clips fall down faster than leaves in autumn.) Some styles clip onto a waistband, belt, or bra strap. Others strap on like wristwatches. A few even count steps when carried in a backpack or briefcase. Pick out what works best for you.
[ ] Check the display. Look for big, clear numbers that are easy to read. Some displays light up -- helpful if you tend to walk early or late or use reading glasses.
[ ] Check the tech. Only buy features you need. Most walkers want a daily step counter and a 7-day memory so they can get a weekly step total or compare daily distances. A pulse-rate reader, speed estimator, stopwatch, and other fancy tech features may just make the thing too complicated to use.
[ ] Check out what the experts say. Drs. Oz and Roizen give pedometers two thumbs up and are fans of a 10,000-steps-a-day walking plan (that's about 5 miles). They like the Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer. It features an easy-to-read LCD display and a sturdy clip, and it can also count steps from inside your pocket or purse.