I love my pedometer

I’ve written about my Omron pedometer once before, but I wanted to mention it again because I like it so much. Recent research suggests that using a pedometer can lead to more walking and better health.

I’ve been carrying a pedometer for a little over a year now, and I’ve done almost four million steps since starting to use it:

Over 3M steps!

Just recently I finished a month where I did 10,000 steps or more every day. Once you start a streak of over 10K steps/day, it’s addictive to stay on the streak. In my opinion, a good pedometer is a secret weapon to get into better shape.

The only thing that would make this Omron pedometer perfect is if Omron would open or document their protocol so that Mac and Linux users could write their own pedometer software. At one point I started trying to reverse engineer the USB protocol myself using a program called SnoopyPro:

Snoopy Pro screenshot

But really, who has the time to sit down and reverse engineer a whole USB device from scratch these days? :( It would be better if Omron would just document their protocol so other people could write a Linux/Mac driver.

57 Responses to I love my pedometer (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt:

    Do you prefer Linux over Vista?

  2. panzermike, I don’t run Vista.

  3. lol. Objection. Non responsive. Cloaking are we? Spam penalty.

  4. Dave (original)

    Impressive set of facts and figures, Matt, reminds me of Alexa :) You do know that simply eating right and basic excercise will do more and is a LOT less complicated? ;)

  5. I have heard about it Matt. 4 Million steps in a year+! Wow.. you work while walking is it?

  6. Yeah get ur ass into the gym and get in shape. You got the job, the power and now all you need is some lats and chest and the chicks are free!!

    And after hearing that lisping thavage in your video 1 of 2 I can clearly see you dig chicks. (not that there is anything wrong with thilly thavages)

  7. Dave (original), I started with better eating ‘n’ exercise. :)

  8. In all events, the geek look is in. Look at Bill Gates.

  9. No way I am going to carry one more gadget in my already loaded pocket.

    I wish a pedometer can be embedded into a phone, specially the I Phone :).

    P.S.: I hate gadgets that can be lost or stolen.

  10. Dave (original)

    Dave (original), I started with better eating ‘n’ exercise.

    You should have kept it up and there would no need for the Alexa data ;)

    I like to think as my body a wood fire that requires constant feeding. Fatty foods are the water-logged logs that slow the burning down, while natural foods are the dry logs that feed the fire. Constant grazing on natural foods turn the fire into an inferno.

  11. If you do Atkins right by eating a lots of green leafy vegetables, you can have fatty foods, which are BRAIN foods. You will stay lean. But I agree on the constant snacking for speeding up metabolic rate.

  12. You ever tried using that thing on an elliptical or treadmill or a stairmaster, Matt? And if so, how does it factor in the strain/degree of difficulty that those machines can put on if set to a relatively high level of resistance?

    I’ve been thinking of getting one myself to help me measure how I’m doing.

    Dave (and equally importantly others who may want to know a little about this stuff): the one thing you have to watch about exercise, and this is where a relatively unbiased tool such a pedometer can come in handy, is that much of “proper exercise” is actually incorrect. One of the first things the gym I joined tries to teach is the “20 minute fit fix” routine, 3 times a week, is the way to get healthy quickly. It didn’t take me very long to figure out the flaw in that theory (i.e. that repetitive exercise leads to body adjustment and plateauing, which doesn’t help get you to where you need to be). The pedometer, in conjunction with other tools (e.g. a scale) would help in the sense that you would see your own plateauing.

    I don’t claim to be a health expert, but this is something I picked up by accident from a fitness trainer (he was training a Toronto FC soccer player and I got to listen in for free because I was beside him on the elliptical machine). You gotta mix things up.

    By the way, Matt, is that thing water-resistant too? If so, have you ever tried lap running in a pool with it? (Do six laps of that after an hour workout and you’ll be ready for a good long nap.)

  13. Dave (original)

    There is only one-sure and proven way to become fit and healthy. That is through a life-style change. Steer clear of diets and other fads and use common sense.

    i.e. that repetitive exercise leads to body adjustment and plateauing, which doesn’t help get you to where you need to be

    Hmm, better tell all those Marathon runners,who clock-up over 200KM per week,they are wasting their time.

    I use to be a faily good long distance runner and Gym junkie for over 10 years and for the average person, nothing beats a brisk 45 min walk each day. Water-resistant excercises is best suited to injury recovery.

  14. Hi Matt,

    There is some pedometer software for mac, not sure if it supports your pedometer though.

    http://www.surprisesoftware.com/mycalstep/

    is the software i’m thinking of, maybe give it a try (theres a trial version) and see if it works with your pedometer.

    James

  15. Oh ignore me, my friend who uses this software has said that you only enter the number of steps, you can’t connect your pedometer via USB, etc.

    So in other words it’s rubbish!

  16. The good news is that your blog post has made me go and buy one of these doohickies.

    The bad news is that I’m in an even worse ghetto than “Mac / Linuxland”… I live in this place called “Europe” where the product isn’t officially available.

    While eBay has found me a solution, the price worked out at the equivalent of $50, not the $33 I’d have paid in the US, Amazon.com won’t ship this kind of item to the UK, Amazon.co.uk doesn’t stock it, and the main UK price comparison sites, who, by the way, dominate the search engine results for ” UK” show “no suppliers found”.

    Just in case the Omron people find this blog…. YOUR PRODUCT POLICY IS ANNOYING CUSTOMERS. We managed to find the product, but end up with a BAD opinion of your company in the process!

  17. Matt, when I saw your original post, I bought one for myself. Since then, 5 other people I know have purchased the same one. It’s awesome. I normally don’t like it when bloggers stray from the main purpose of their blog, but in this case, I was quite happy to get the information!

  18. My mexican wife laughs a lot whenever she hears the word pedometer. You know what pedo means in Spanish?

    No matter how you interpret your statistis, its impressive:-)

  19. A yellow lab forces you to walk!

  20. @Marek:

    Yeah I know my wife is from El Salvador. I was laughing too. I am sure all these gringos who married white chicks are wiki ing “pedo”

  21. I am a ballroom dancer, and we practice every day. Some days we practice harder than others. I wonder if the pedometer would help measure the quality of our practice. For example, if we took more steps overall even though the time we devoted to practice that day was less.

    One thing that I don’t believe it measures is distance per step. So if you take longer steps one day, it might seem like you did less, when actually you expended more calories.

  22. Hmm, better tell all those Marathon runners,who clock-up over 200KM per week,they are wasting their time.

    That’s also not the only form of exercise the good ones do. It’s just the only one we see. Look at the way they stretch, lift weights (a lot of them do this now), do cardio, etc.

    And marathon runners aren’t completely healthy, either. Ask one about his/her toenails sometime. There’s something that needs an R rating to look at.

  23. Nice job Matt! I started out with a pedometer over a year ago and got so into it that I ran a marathon 1 year later.

  24. “a good pedometer is a secret weapon to get into better shape.” It’s like reading your log files. Once you begin doing it regularly, you get this desire to keep improving on the numbers. By taking the next step, which you did here by making it public, you may find yourself even more motivated to improve on step counts.

    Congrats Matt, you’re fitness program looks like it’s rewarding you well.

  25. Hey Matt,

    I’m glad you are happy with your pedometer. Every time I see someone rave (or rant) about a product, I check with our site to see if it is a “top rated” item…

    http://www.buzzillions.com/4294966044_nz_pedometers_reviews

    (your model is actually #2…the more inexpensive Omron is #1)

    Hopefully Omron is watching it’s reviews and will take your advice to heart :)

  26. hey, we got 7 reviews on thing. it gets a better than average rating for the category:

    http://www.buzzillions.com/dz_963124_omron_hj_720itc_pocket_pedometer_health_reviews

    boom, Jim

  27. Harith

    Matt,

    Both Danny and Rand have chimed in here with interesting feedback. How about you :)

  28. Thanks for the information! I may consider getting that same pedometer. The one I have misses most of my steps, so its kind of useless.

  29. Dave (original)

    That’s also not the only form of exercise the good ones do.

    No, but it’s over 90% and IS extremely “repetitive”. Your statement was false, sorry.

    And marathon runners aren’t completely healthy, either. Ask one about his/her toenails sometime. There’s something that needs an R rating to look at.<LOL! They are only among the MOST elite and the fittest athletes on the Planet.

  30. Dave (original)

    That’s also not the only form of exercise the good ones do.

    No, but it’s over 90% and IS extremely “repetitive”. Your statement was false, sorry.

    And marathon runners aren’t completely healthy, either. Ask one about his/her toenails sometime. There’s something that needs an R rating to look at.LOL! They are only among the MOST elite and the fittest athletes on the Planet.

  31. Dave (original)

    Damn those quote tags :)

  32. You obviously don’t know any marathon runners, Dave. I happen to know one quite well (she’s the president of a client company of mine), and she’s got some health issues. Nothing major, but toenails, feet in general (they curve in ways a foot just doesn’t curve normally), knees (you can’t run that long without enduring some kind of knee injury), back, etc.

    The good ones do a lot of training as far as the distances themselves are concerned (duh!) but they also do a lot of other things. They have to.

    There have even been marathon runners that have died in their 20s from heart attacks (partly caused by heat, but heat alone won’t cause a heart attack in those situations).

    I never said they weren’t elite athletes. What I said is that they’re not the pictures of perfect health and that they do a lot of other training besides just the running. There’s a big difference between fit and healthy.

  33. Great article! Your post has made me buy one! :o)

  34. I use a sportline pedometer just to track my steps at the office and during my occasional strolls. I don’t wear it when I run or workout. I average about 3 to 4K steps a day just from getting up and using the bathroom, etc.

    I’ve heard good things about Omron, a buddy of mine uses it. Loves it, but I have never tried documenting my steps in software. I don’t think I would be consistent enough. Plus, who has the time?

  35. Very motivational post! I’m in the market for a pedometer but I didn’t realise you could get all the nifty analysis tools to track usage. Feeling suitably motivated to look in more detail at these gadgets and importantly try and walk off some of the recent years of neglect my sedentary lifestyle has inflicted :-)

  36. A pound every 10 weeks? :S That’s not much for people who are overweight or obese. But I think a pedometer can definitely help you maintain your weight.

  37. Hi Matt,

    My wife bought 5 (she gave them out like candy) Omron pedometers 7 days ago, and we have been competing ever since (e.g. “How many steps do you have right now?”). I thought that I was doing good at 10,000+ steps per day, but my stepson walked 26 miles last week at his job…

    P.S. I’ve been wondering – How is your back doing?

  38. Dave (original)

    You obviously don’t know any marathon runners, Dave

    Yet another false statement. Besides being one in my younger years, I know many. I use to live and breath fittnes, excercise and long distance running.

    It’s quite ignorant to find exceptions to the rule and tout it as the norm. I know a 99 Year old smoker who is in good health. Conclusion, smoking it good for you.

  39. Dave (original)

    There’s a big difference between fit and healthy.

    Correction, there can be small or subtle differences between “fit” and “healthy”. The 2 normally go hand-in-hand, hence the well used phrase “fit and healthy”.

    Fitness can only come about by aerobic exercise.
    Health is a combination of luck, generics, proper eating and exercise.

    SOME Marathon runners ARE the “picture of perfect health” and your blanket statement that are NOT is yet another false statement.

  40. Dave…if you’re going to make things up and pull them out of your ass, then there’s no point in trying to have any reasonable conversation with you. Your own stories contradict themselves in painfully obvious ways, never mind the fact that you can’t even spell two of the three words that you “used to live and breath”. Personally, I’m going to chalk it up to a “generic” defect.

    Any reasonable person will realize how incredibly flawed what you’re saying is…maybe one day, you’ll figure it out too. Maybe the common sense you speak of will finally kick in for you…but I doubt it.

  41. Dave (original)

    LOL! I would bet money you would resort to childish insults, nit-picking on typos and factoids sooner rather than later. Are you as insecure in the flesh?

  42. Dave (original)

    LOL! Ever heard the saying: people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

    Dave…if you’re going to make things up and pull them out of your ass

    BTW, that would be arse….unless you believe I keep and “ass” as a pet :)

  43. GWC

    Hi Matt, nice to see your staying active, but for myself, 16 hours in this chair and a bowl of fruit to munch on keeps me slim a trim, lol

    P.S- activity? whats that ? :-|

  44. John A. Davis

    Marathon runners and other altheletes of this type have a compromised immune system. For some reason, it gets fooled with all the exercise. Google it.

    Matt started getting skinnier after I replied to one of his posts about glorifying food. I think he was slobbering over some local restaurant.

    Is it so wrong to want to be important?
    sob

  45. Lesli

    Hello Matt, I have the same pedometer and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I suggest to everyone that they buy one. I don’t ever stand still anymore. I’m just trying to get more and more steps in. Lately, my goal has been 20,000 a day but I’m also actively trying to lose weight.

    I have noticed that when I run, that it doesn’t get all my steps in. Do you think I need to change the pace setting before I run? Or is this supposed to be smart enough to figure out that you are running and increase my distance covered automatically?

    Thanks for the help! Lesli

  46. arpad

    Could You help me Matt?
    I’ve just bogught this pedometer what You’ve got and when I download the data, the software add one extra zero to it.
    for example if my daily steps was 7567 on may computer shows 70567.
    on the pedometer shows well…
    Do You know why?
    thanx for Your help , arpad
    sorry to disturb You but when I loked for in the google Your blog came out… :)

  47. I’ve been slowly walking from the train station to the office (as opposed to taking the subway) on nicer days (50-70F). I’m hoping this will push me to do so more often.

    Let us know if you find a way to connect it to a Mac. It would be great if it were cross platform. It sounds good enough that I’ll settle for using my PC with it.

    I ordered one and hope it will do the same for me. Even if not overweight, a healthy habit isn’t a bad thing to gain. Maybe this will push me in that direction.

  48. Rune Jensen

    Hi Matt,

    Congratulations with the great result. I´ve used a pedometer the last five months with a daily average of 10930 steps. It´s a funny way to get daily activity and fairly easy to achieve. Just park in the most far corner of the parking areas – and at my work it encourages me to take a extra walk around the offices with the risk of meeting new people…! Everyday I also park 10 minutes walk away from the company I work for – this is also a great tip.

    Best Wishes here from Denmark.

    /Rune

  49. @arpad
    The software has to be used with US regional settings in Windows.

  50. arpad

    Thanks tarmo!

  51. Matt,

    Ok, I read your post last year and I was moderately interested. After sitting behind the computer for 10 years and fast approaching the age of 40, fitness, health and general well being are coming up in my mind more and more. You talk about how you think this is key to getting healthy, but I am wondering if you will share exactly what this has done for you besides some good content for your blog. Can you share some personal stats as to your improvement? Are you noticing yourself walking more knowing you are measured? Do you find yourself increasing your goals as you meet them? Have you lost some weight? Do you notice you are not out of breath when walking around San Fran as much? Just curious, besides being interesting has this thing garnered you an real health improvements?

    Oh, and for those of you who think I might be asking for his weight or whatever, I am not. But it would be nice to know if it has in fact created results for Matt.

    Michael

  52. Matt,

    This is a very interesting trend.
    I’m interested in this because i am a reflexologist and i know the benefits of using your feet every day.
    You’re not the only one who has started using a pedometer
    for example i was reading loic’s page here.
    http://www.loiclemeur.com/english/2008/08/how-do-geeks-ge.html
    I like these stuff, ideally you’d want them wireless and you should be able to check the count on any browser much like a wireless router.
    It’s very good stuff :)

  53. As a doctor with blood pressure myself I know I should be really hot on this kind of thing but to be honest I just could never get into the pedometer trend. I kept leaving it at home – or in the office – or at the gym – or in the car ……

    At last I’ve solved the issue. I got a new Polar AW200 fitness watch for my birthday and IT ROCKS – IT REALLY DOES !

    Apart from my Iphone it’s the best bit of kit I’ve had in a long time

    Love it – works a treat – and no more feeling around in my pocket for a pedometer that isn’t there

  54. Are you still looking for protocol information for the Omron products? I’ve pretty much reversed out the protocol for one of their blood pressure monitors (790IT to be exact. Yes, some of us /do/ still have time to do USB reversing from protocol logs alone. :) ), it shouldn’t be too hard to port to other platforms (outside of their blatant abuse of the HID layer) and I’m betting the pedometer works pretty much the same way. Feel free to email me if you’re interested. :)

  55. Steve

    I use the same Omron pedometer, love it!! My kids use http://www.mypedz.com

  56. Paul

    Hi Matt, Just wondered, have you tried the omron software under wine? I know native linux sw would be better, but until such a time, if it runs under wine at least I could use it.

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