Pedometry to prevent cardiorespiratory fitness decline-is it effective?

Robert M. Lystrup, Gordon F. West, Cara Olsen, Matthew Ward, Mark B. Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Physically active providers are more likely to prescribe exercise. Unfortunately, many become sedentary during their training. We examined pedometry as an incentive to promote physical activity in a cohort of medical students. Methods: This was a prospective, unblinded clinical trial of pedometry. 107 preclinical medical students volunteered. 50 students received Fitbit pedometers and 57 served as controls. All students ran 1.5- or 2-mile timed runs before pedometer issue, and again 1 year after. Change in run times were the primary outcome measure. Step counts, body composition, and exercise frequency were secondary outcomes. Results: 76% of students with pedometers reported increased motivation to exercise and 57% reported changing daily routines as a result of pedometry. Active pedometry participants declined from 48/50 initially to 22/50 over 13 months. Run times slowed an average of 5.0 seconds for pedometry users vs. 12.3 seconds for the control group. This difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.48). Conclusions: A subset of future physicians reported increased motivation to exercise after a trial of pedometry. However, adherence over the long term was poor and it seems to have a limited impact on aerobic exercise performance in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1239
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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