Pedometers can be found in most any sporting goods store, outdoor store, some fitness stores, mass merchants like Target and even sometimes at places like McDonalds. That means that most consumers likely figure that cheap is just fine. But not only is cheaper not necessarily better -- or very accurate -- but also a stand-alone pedometer may not offer the education and inspiration needed by someone new at trying to mix more activity into his or her life.
We took a look at Accusplit's "Steps to Better Health" kit, which the company called an "activity wellness program," and it takes those extra steps beyond just offering a pedometer. In addition to the pedometer, it included accessories, as well as a 46-page booklet by The Cooper Institute called "Steps to Better Health," with a welcome by Cooper CEO Stephen Blair, Ph.D., renowned exercise advocate and researcher.
First, we have to say that to us, the names "Cooper" and "Stephen Blair" mean something, but we asked a newbie walker just getting back into weight-loss and activity to not only take a look at the kit, use it and tell us what she thought, but if she knew -- or cared -- about those names on it. As suspected, she had no idea what they were or who they were, and they had no influence how much she used or valued the kit.
We think the kit -- and particularly the very simply written, step-by-step booklet for the beginner -- is a great idea. The easy-to-read text is plain, to-the-point, in slightly larger point size to make it quite easy to read. It offers mini-quizzes and questionnaires to help users assess their readiness, current ability and goals. It also explains the benefit of charting your progress -- and gives an example to follow -- and offers plenty of tips and what it calls "habit helpers," for example things like "reward yourself" and "get support," to keep a user on track.
Our true newbie user thought the same thing: Not only did using the pedometer excite her to move more ("Wearing this counter really gave me an incentive to increase my steps every time I could. I really DID!"), but the Cooper booklet helped too and that surprised her ("I didn't expect the guide to be as useful as it actually was!").
She found the instructions on calibrating the pedometer quite useful, the advantages listed true, and the use of it generally inspiring.
"I found myself checking it frequently and was HIGHLY motivated to increase my numbers. It really brought out my competitive nature," she said.
Not only did she also say the packaging was informative, eye-catching and generic enough to appeal to a wide range of possible users, but she has already recommended the program kit to another friend: "I told her how much this book motivated me. It really made a difference."
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $25
For more information: www.accusplit.com