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Using a pedometer to count your steps is one of the easiest ways to stay active. It tracks what you’re doing when you’re nipping to the shops, doing a proper power walk or wandering about with your natty umbrella past a wheat field like our model below.
Newer style watch-like pedometers only have one way to wear them, around your wrist – but, if you’re using a clip on pedometer you can wear it on your waistband, bra, belt, shirt, top – but, should you?
Does it actually matter where you wear your clip on pedometer – and, if it does, where’s the best place to wear a pedometer for the most accurate pedometer reading, when you should you put your pedometer on – and which brands offer the best clip on pedometers for where you want to wear yours?
We decided to investigate and found the answer to all these questions…
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Why Might You Want a Clip on Pedometer
To some it might seem a bit of a throwback when we have watches and phones that count steps nowadays, but, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to wear a clip on step counter instead.
If you already wear a watch, then wearing a other devices like the Fitbit or Apple Watch on your other wrist can look a bit daft.
Maybe you don’t carry your phone everywhere with you
And if it’s not with you, you can’t track steps. If you wear a pedometer though it’s always tracking you.
You might work from home, or work somewhere where you’re not allowed to have your phone, or don’t want to carry it – and in this case, having a discreet bra pedometer or hip pedometer clipped to your belt, waistband or undies could be the perfect solution.
You might not want to spend a fortune. The Apple Watch might be convenient, but it’s not cheap. A good basic clip on pedometer can cost just a few dollars.
So, you don’t need to analyse every element of your fitness routine. You just want to count your steps. Clip on pedometers, mostly, aren’t attached to smartphones – you just look at what it says on the screen and do a few more steps – or, give yourself a pat on the back.
You might not also be worried about what you did yesterday.
Yes, modern wearables and smart watches let you track what you did yesterday compared to what you did this time last week, but maybe you don’t want that.
Maybe you just have a daily step goal and are trying to beat it – and in that case, a simple clip on pedometer will do the job brilliantly.
Your first job therefore is to decide on which type of clip on pedometers you want to buy – and there are roughly two types…
Choosing a Clip on Step Counter
Your main decision is if you want to choose a pedometer that clips on your bra, or around your waistband
If You Want to Try a Bra Pedometer
Obviously these are more popular for way for ladies to wear a pedometer than gents – although they would also work if you’re a man who wears a singlet under your work shirt.
Clipping a pedometer to your bra strap or the band in middle of your bra (or the middle of your singlet) is an easy way to hide your pedometer (although it can make it harder to see your steps on the move.)
A good bra pedometer is longer than it is wide which allows it to squish between the ‘ladies’ and lie as flat as possible against the skin.
Obviously, you can’t really wear them under a very tight top. but the longer and flatter the pedometer the less obtrusive it will be .
Top Choice: The Real Alt3DTri Sport 3D Pedometer.
This is one of the most popular products people buy from this post – and I don’t see any returns so that’s a good sign. It also has hundreds of positive reviews online.
It gives you a lot of extra data like daily calorie burn, which is great if you’re upping your steps as you try and lose weight, and, it stores 30 days worth of results so if you do want to track how your steps are improving it’s a great choice.
It comes in 5 different colours (including white which might be important if you’re going to be wearing it under a white blouse or shirt) and weighs just 1.4oz.
Also Check Out: The Omron Walking Style HJ320
The Omron Range has a couple of different pedometers, but probably the most ‘bra-clip’ friendly is the Walking Style HJ320.
It’s thin and light. and again, comes in white
If You Prefer a Hip Pedometer
Again, you might want to check out the RealAlt3D tracker mentioned above as that will work on both hip and bra.
But do keep in mind that more vertical pedometers are a bit better for those with, erm, flatter middles – as you want the pedometer to sit as flush to your body as possible.
If you are a little bit fuller around the middle, you might be better choosing a clip on pedometer with a smaller overall area that’s a bit more short and squat, will keep things more stable and give a more accurate result. So have a look at designs like…
Top Choice: The 3DFitBud Simple Step Counter
This is one of Amazon’s Top Choices and, as I write this, their best-selling clip on pedometer.
The 3DFitBud Simple Step Counter is a good solid shape and the large display is great as it can be annoying having to remove a clip-on pedometer every time you want to check how you are doing.
It comes in four different colours – a black version, if you want it to blend in to work pants, or brighter colours like pink and blue if you want to make a statement with it.
It weighs less than an ounce so won’t drag down your waistband.
UK Readers: Try the Pingko Walking Pedometer
This Pingko pedometer is small, unobtrusive (unless you buy the bright green colourway) but still it’s very easy to see the display – and it’s brilliant if you’re on a budget.
If you just want a nice simple pedometer to measure your steps without bells and whistles, you can’t go far wrong with this one.
Unfortunately, for US readers this one doesn’t seem to be available in your area any more.
If You Want to Hide Your Pedometer
Probably the prettiest clip on pedometer out there is the Bella Beat which you could easily wear on the outside of your top or belt without anyone realising what it actually is.
It also comes in other colours.
Or, you could even try an ankle pedometer.
Personally, I think it looks a little bit like you’re being monitored by some kind of federal authority, but ankle pedometers are a thing.
If you want to see more about them have a look at the Moov range.
However, as we said before, whatever pedometer you buy, you will want it to be accurate – and so here are some tips on how to wear your pedometer to maximise your chances.
The Best Place to Wear a Pedometer
Choosing the right pedometer for your needs is just one part of getting an accurate result. You also need to wear your pedometer in the correct position if you want to get the most accurate result.
If you’re not sure if you would prefer a bra clip pedometer or a waist/hip clip pedometer, the following can help you make up your mind.
You Need a Tight Fixing
To give an accurate reading you don’t want your pedometer jiggling around in your pants pocket so, when considering the best place to wear a pedometer, choose somewhere close to your body and fairly stable.
That means ideally a bra strap, bra middle, belt or waistband.
Keep wherever you clip it fairly tight and the pedometer upright – wonky pedometers give equally wonky readings.
Avoid clipping it on lose elastic waistbands or belts.
Choose the Best Place for Your Shape
As we alluded to above, some pedometers suit certain shapes better than others. And the reason is accuracy. You need your pedometer to lie close to your body for it to accurately measure your steps.
If you carry most of your weight around the tummy, wearing a long pedometer around your waistband might mean it can’t lie flat and so you could be better off with a bra-pedometer or, picking one that works with your middle like the ones suggested above.
To find out the best place for you to wear your pedometer, try the 20 step test (below) with the pedometer clipped on your waistband, then try it again clipped onto the middle of your bra (ladies) or on your belt parallel with your armpit or close to your lower back (this does mean you’ll have to take it off to read it – but think of it as a nice surprise!).
Whichever reading is most accurate then stick with it that as it’s the correct position for you.
Don’t Put the Pedometer in Your Pocket
It might work for the health app on your iPhone, but in a study looking at what happened when people did this with a clip on pedometer found that this was when the pedometer was least accurate.
Do the 20 Step Test
Pedometers can become less accurate over time – particularly if they use a counting mechanism using springs.
The step test helps ensure yours is still tracking correctly.
Take 20 steps at a moderate pace using your normal stride length.
If your device measures between 18-22 it’s classed as accurate. Give it a little pat on the back and continue.
If it doesn’t it may be time to retire it to the great pile of exercise equipment in the sky – and check out some of our replacement suggestionsfor the best clip on pedometers above.
Keep Your Speed Up
Pedometers are more accurate at speeds over 2.5mph (4kph) so try not to walk slowly when tracking or you’ll get a false reading.
Even the newest fitness trackers give a more accurate reading when walking relatively quickly – they didn’t count steps taken when people were using a walking frame well at all.
Generally, studies have shown that pedometers are most accurate at measuring steps taken while walking if you wear them on your hip rather than clipped on your bra or shirt – however, in this trial, the most accurate reading when people were running came from when the tracker was worn around the chest area – so, you might want to swap your pedometer to there if you’re going running rather than walking.
Again, you’ll need to make sure it’s not jiggling around so, wear it on a sports bra, or choose a tighter top and clip it around your neckline.
Know Your Surface
If you walk somewhere very hilly, or walk on soft sand or similar the device may undercount.
This is because pedometers count movements that apply a certain force vertically – steep inclines or soft surfaces can mess with this force and cause them to miss some steps, just factor in variability of about 10 per cent on these surfaces.
Or, don’t worry about it too much – undercounting is better than overcounting after all.
Of course, none of this advice applies to things like the newer types of fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist – they’ve been calculated to work using arm movement (although – I’m pretty sure that means I’d earn exercise points while eating – and in fact there is a trial that did show that the Fitbit Flex counted eating as steps).
When Should You Put Your Pedometer On
If you want the most accurate measure of the total number of steps you do a day, then as soon as you get dressed in the morning is the best time to put on a pedometer.
You’ll be amazed at how many steps you rack up carrying out morning tasks like getting dressed, making the bed, brushing your teeth etc.
Getting into the habit of putting it on with the rest of your clothes also reduces the risk of your forgetting it one day – which can then easily cause you to slip out of the habit of wearing it.
IF you’re just starting on your 10,000 steps journey, then put your pedometer on for the first time on a day when you’re not really trying to hard. For the next 2-3 days keep a measure of how many steps you do without trying. This is your baseline.
From this point, try and increase your steps – but, if you’re not used to exercise, don’t try and go for 10,000 steps all at once, you might find it leaves you sore and a bit achy and you won’t want to keep things up.
Instead, aim to add 10 per cent more steps each week until you get to 10,000.
Is There a Hybrid Clip On Step Counter?
If you’re liking the idea of a clip on pedometer at work, but also want to embrace some of the new technology associated with armband-style products like the Fitbit, have a look at the Fitbit Inspire.
The Fitbit Inspire can be worn as both a watch based tracker, or, a clip on – with the addition of a simple accessory.
If you want something a bit more sophisticated than a simple step counter – but still want to clip on your tracker – this is a great option.
The Inspire HR and the Ace 2 can also be converted to clip on pedometers.
You might need to shop around a bit to find them though.
So there you go: Where to wear your pedometer to accurately record your daily steps and some suggestions for the best clip on pedometer to count steps accurately.
Let us know in the comments if you have another clip on pedometer that you love and we’ll add it to the list.
Oh, and if you’re looking for ways to get your steps up that make walking a bit more fun – have a look at our post on how to do a colour walk which is a great way to get your exercise in and improve your mood or other ways of thinking.
Or, try our suggestion of a 10,000 steps treasure hunt.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.