The following are some pedometer tips, along with the results of our informal 1,000-step test of five models.
Sharper Image Talking Pedometer (Sharper Image, $19.95)
This pedometer "talks" to you, announcing how many steps you've taken, the distance traveled and time of day. It also offers seven irritating tunes that play in tempo with your pace and a clock with three alarm sound choices. The accuracy is a bit erratic. In one test it counted the steps exactly, and in another 1,000-step test it was off by 43 steps.
Walk4Life Model LS2515 (Walk4Life, $27)
This one is darn near perfect. The most it was ever off was one step out of 1,000. The numbers are huge so it's easy to read, and it offers three functions: step counter, exercise time and steps-to-mileage conversion. Available via www.walk4life.com or (888)422-1806.
Sportline 345 (Sportline, $19.99)
This is the pedometer most often found in sporting goods and department stores. It's also the most erratic of the bunch we tested, sometimes miscounting by more than 18 percent. This model also can keep tabs on calories burned, distance covered and time of day.
Go Active Stepometer (free with McDonald's Go Active Adult Happy Meals)
Although no longer offered as a free promotion, this basic step counter tested out better than some of the $20 to $30 models with lots of options. The accuracy was off by about four percent in our 1,000-step test, but was very sensitive to movement and over-counted when worn all day.
DigiWalker, model SW 701 (Yamax, $27-$35)
Although rated the most accurate in a University of Tennessee study, this model fell in the middle of the pack in our test and was off by about two percent. In addition to counting steps, it can estimate calories burned and distance traveled. Not carried in stores, it must be ordered through a distributor or on the Internet, such as www.new-lifestyles.com and www.stepintohealth.com.