All About Pedometers

By: Henry Calhoun


Pedometers have had many names during the course of history, such as calibrated odometer, manpo-kei, hike-o-meter, Tomish-meter, and step counter. These devices have existed since ancient times, but have not always been just a tool for people who want to stay healthy and physically active.
Perhaps the first use of pedometers can be dated back to the time of the early Romans. Steps were counted in order to measure distances, not for the purpose of the physical fitness of the Roman soldiers, but for whatever military and civil purposes that distance measurement may serve the Romans. Leonardo da Vinci also saw the possible military uses of a mechanical pedometer, and this was evident in his paintings, depicting Roman soldiers carrying such a device.
This was further realized by the Third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. He actually got his first pedometer at France, and although it is still unknown whether he modified it or not, he then introduced it to the Americans. Hence, it was called a Tomish-meter for some time, which was first operated with a pendulum swinging back and forth.
After that the device became popular and then was marketed throughout the United States. The name then changed to hike-o-meter. There was also a Japanese version of this, known as the manpo-keis which was then marketed starting in 1965. The literal translation of the Japanese pedometer is 10,000 step meter.
Early pedometers were constructed differently than modern versions, which are now digital or can be integrated into various electronic devices. Before modern day devices, pedometers were made of lead balls that would swing like a pendulum and the striking would be the count. This was not accurate, unlike today's pedometers which are very precise.
Pedometers were first used to measure distances covered by runners. Athletes would not even be found practicing without one of these on them back in earlier times since these devices were important tools for many activities. Nowadays, though, the pedometer is primarily used to record the number of steps taken. This is so important now, because walking is considered a good way to exercise and nothing more strenuous than a brisk walk is necessary in order for it to be seen as exercise..
For those who are weak or too overweight to take part of regular exercises, but nevertheless need exercise, pedometers are a great help since they track how much is being done. Diabetics and chronically ill people will quickly see the value of pedometers and their use as a tool to keep fit.
From measuring distances to staying healthy, the pedometer has indeed evolved from a simple tool to a healthy aid. They may have been a lot of names, they may have been used differently, but one thing is for sure. The pedometer will not count its days for it will stay for a long, long time.

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